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Archive for November, 2013

Biology Questions from Children – How Does a Parent Discuss Breasts?

Monday, November 25th, 2013

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This is the fifth installment in a series on how parents might consider addressing various challenging questions and topics with their kids.  In addressing situations like the one presented below, the important thing is to respond in an honest, age-appropriate way that incorporates a sense of awe and wonder for being made in God’s image and likeness – not just offering a biology lesson.  We as parents must be perceived as askable, credible, warm, and caring for our children to want to seek us out for answers to such questions.  For a much more comprehensive way of approaching these types of issues, please consider attending a full “Leading & Loving” program in your area.  See our program schedule here, or contact us about how to bring a program to your area.)

Parents!  What would you do in THIS situation?

You have friends over for the evening. Your 4 year old is sitting on his mother’s lap and pushes up against her breasts and asks, “Why are these things so big?” What would be your answer? 

If others heard and reacted, I would calmly and lightly tell him that we will talk about it later, then quickly move the conversation along to other things before everyone starts telling stories about embarrassingly inappropriate things their children have done in public – things he does not need to hear and will either make him giggle and egg him on or make him feel bad.  (If he persists, leave the room to discuss his question together and consider the explanation below.)

“So you asked about mommy’s breasts.  You have breasts too (show him where). Mine are bigger because when you were a baby they had milk in them so that I could feed you.  All ladies have big breasts so they could feed a baby. Isn’t that neat that God made moms’ bodies so they could feed their babies!  But boys and daddies don’t feed the baby so their breasts are small.”

How Does a Parent Deal with Differing Family Values?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in a series on how parents might consider addressing various challenging questions and topics with their kids.  These responses were developed by a cooperative effort of several of our program presenters – incorporating both male and female perspectives.  Ultimately, the important thing is to respond in an honest, age-appropriate way that includes a balance of Truth and compassion.  We as parents must be perceived as askable, credible, warm, and caring for our children to want to seek us out for answers to such questions.  For a much more comprehensive way of approaching these types of issues, please consider attending a full “Leading & Loving” program in your area.  See our program schedule here, or contact us about how to bring a program to your area.)

What would you do in a situation where your child is exposed to family values that differ from your own?

8-year-old Michael comes home from an overnight with a friend and excitedly tells you about an action movie they watched which you know had scenes with unmarried couples naked in bed together having sexual relations. 

(For starters, avoid letting your child go to anyone’s home unless you are convinced there is no chance of this happening.)

First, you must determine whether or not he even saw the offensive scenes.  Perhaps he was going to the bathroom, getting a snack, or the parent actually fast-forwarded these parts.  You might ask, “Oh you watched ——————–.  Did you watch the whole thing?”  Unless he says that his friend’s mom made us turn our heads a few times, you’ll have to probe deeper.  “I’ve actually heard of that movie.  I know it has some exciting action scenes in it, but it also has some really bad stuff, too.  Dad and I are concerned that what you watch is something fun and exciting but always shows respect for the people in the story.  Do you think there were parts of this movie we would not think were good?  Did you notice any bad words or people being immodest or anything like that?  It’s not your fault and you’re not in trouble, but if you saw anything that you didn’t understand I just want to be able to talk to you about it.”  If you can’t find anything out, chances are he missed it, or just didn’t notice it somehow.  At that age, he might just be thinking “Ah, stupid kissing.  Let’s just get a snack and wait for the superheroes to come back.”

If he does indicate he saw something, probe gently and calmly letting him tell you what he saw so that you don’t go any further than needed.  If you determine that he actually saw a sex scene, tell him I’m very sorry you had to see that.  “It’s important to know that these people were doing something they shouldn’t be doing – something outside of God’s plan for us.  Those people were not married and they committed adultery.”  (Even small children can understand that adultery is acting like you’re married to someone you are not married to, so this explanation should work for most families.)  “And even married people should follow God’s laws and dress and act modestly on TV, because when we follow God’s plan, everything works out better!”

How Would You Handle THIS Situation? – On Same-Sex Marriage

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a series on how parents might consider addressing various challenging questions and topics with their kids.  These responses were developed by a cooperative effort of several of our program presenters – incorporating both male and female perspectives.  Ultimately, the important thing is to respond in an honest, age-appropriate way that includes a balance of Truth and compassion.  We as parents must be perceived as askable, credible, warm, and caring for our children to want to seek us out for answers to such questions.  For a much more comprehensive way of approaching these types of issues, please consider attending a full “Leading & Loving” program in your area.  See our program schedule here, or contact us about how to bring a program to your area.)

So, how would you handle THIS situation?

You are at the bookstore and 6-year-old Alison sees a book that her teacher read to her at school.  She wants you to buy it for her.  The book is King and King, the story of a same-sex marriage.

First, I shrug off purchasing the book since she’s already had it read to her.  Then, I ask her to tell me what the book is about and what she liked about it.  That way, I know if she understood that the book was about two married men.  If not, I do not introduce it.  I take opportunities in the near future to reinforce the idea of traditional marriage (the importance of mommies and daddies) and address the inappropriate reading material with the school.  “Alison, what would it be like if you had 2 of me or 2 of daddy instead of both of us?  God planned for a mommy and a daddy from the beginning when he created the very first married couple, Adam and Eve.”

How Would You Handle THIS Situation? – On Explaining Gender to a Young Child

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Editor’s Note:  When Family Honor teams present our “Leading & Loving” program at various parishes across the country, we discuss a variety of challenging scenarios and questions that parents may run across at some point with their children.  Because the culture we live in today runs very much against the grain of the Truth as taught by the Catholic Church, we parents will be forced to address many of these issues – often at times when we least expect it. Some of these are just innocent questions or situations that aren’t always easy to know how to react to, while others put our knowledge of the faith to the test.

Therefore, we offer you this second installment of a weekly series featuring one possible situation that may arise in your family.  (To view the first one from last week, click here.)  Following the description of the situation is a possible response parents could consider using.  These responses were developed through consultation with a variety of our Family Honor presenters – both male and female.  Our presenters are not counselors, mind you, though they are passionate about their vocation as parents and as Catholics. 

So, how would you handle THIS situation?

After being introduced to a newborn baby your four-year-old asks, “How can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl?”  Your response?  How DO you address gender in an accurate and age-appropriate way with a young child?

Here’s one possible answer:

I might respond by asking my five year old “How do you know if you are a girl (or a boy)?”  If my child’s answer involves genital body parts – then we are good.  I might just affirm that she/he is good at telling boys from girls.  If my child responds with something like “I have a boy haircut”, then I would affirm that could be one way to tell boys from girls, but the baby’s hair probably won’t tell us that.  I would then very simply explain that when you change a baby’s diaper, you see that God made boys with a penis and girls with a vagina.  I would then let the child ask additional questions if so desired and answer them as simply and accurately as I could.