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Parenting

How Answering Your Kid’s Many Questions Sets Them Up For Success

Open communication can help kids feel safe in a complex world

How Answering Your Kid’s Many Questions Sets Them Up For Success

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Kids ask a lot of questions. From the many “whys” of toddlerhood through the sometimes cringey queries of tweens, a big part of parenting is finding appropriate answers. Whether you know the answer or need to look it up online, what’s most important is that the response comes from you.

“Establishing yourself as the primary confidant in your child's life as early as possible is essential,” says Canadian child psychologist, speaker, and author Dr. Jillian Roberts, adding that strong, healthy parent-child bonds are pivotal for nurturing resilience in children. “When children feel secure and loved, they are more likely to develop the emotional tools necessary to cope with life's challenges.

And when they learn that they have a reliable source of guidance and support from their parents, this knowledge becomes a cornerstone of their mental and emotional well-being.”

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How to approach your child’s questions

Dr. Roberts emphasizes the importance of approaching your child's questions with gratitude. “When a child approaches you with a query, no matter how tricky or awkward it may be, express appreciation for their curiosity. Let them know that their questions are valued and that their curiosity is something to be cherished,” she says.

In a world where children are often exposed to information—and misinformation—at a very young age, ensuring they have a safe and reliable source for answers is crucial. “By reassuring your child that they can always turn to you for accurate and caring responses, you build trust and a sense of security within your relationship,” says Dr. Roberts. And this will only become more important as your children become teenagers and enter trickier stages of decision-making.

Open communication can help kids feel safe in a complex world. It empowers them to seek your guidance when they encounter difficult situations or navigate unfamiliar territory. So, encourage your child to ask questions and express gratitude for their curiosity, and then let them know that you're always there to provide guidance and support. It's never too early to start building a strong and loving relationship with your child.

Starting early is the first principle in Dr. Roberts’ parenting framework, The Mindkey Parental Compass, which offers a set of values to guide parents, rather than a static set of rules. Her philosophy, which includes seven key principles, promises to enhance the parent-child bond and equip parents to be more effective problem-solvers, and she says, "It's never too early or too late to start using the compass. Its values are timeless, making it relevant for children of all ages, even those in their teenage years.”

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Author:

Dr. Jillian Roberts is a registered psychologist, Professor at the University of Victoria, founder of the MindKey Health Clinics and author of What Happens When a Loved One Dies: Our First Talk about Death and On the News: Our First Talk About Tragedy.

Want to learn more strategies and discover helpful activities to try with your kids? Access the Mindkey Parental Compass course for free with code CLINIC100.

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