When Kids Ask Tough Questions

“If daddy dies will you be a widow?” The question surprised me but I tried to present a calm demeanor to the child who asked. I simply answered, “Yes, I will be a widow if he dies.”

“He could be hurt in a fire or die.”

“Yes, that’s true, but it’s very unlikely that will happen.”

And just like that the conversation was over and the child with the questions was in another room playing.

This child has never asked anything so direct before and I still have no idea what prompted them to question my husband’s safety. We are a firefighter family and because our kids are very young we rarely (if ever) discuss the dangers of the fire service with them. I see no reason to cause unnecessary anxiety in them since the odds of Mike being injured or killed are slim. It is, however, in the realm of possibility. A firefighter in our local community passed recently and I was reminded that each day is, indeed, a gift.

When my kids ask tough questions I try to balance truth with caution. Answering their questions honestly without creating unnecessary worry is the challenge. I don’t want to lie and tell them that my husband’s job isn’t dangerous.  But I want them to live free from fear.

Kids know when we are not being honest and I want them to feel they can come to me with their difficult questions and I will answer them truthfully. The question this week surprised me. I probably will not know if I handled it well until this child is older. But I tried. And sometimes that is all you can do.

How do you handle the difficult questions your kids ask? I’d love to hear any ideas you have for handling difficult questions with grace and truth.


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