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Apr
04

Curiosity Killed the Cat

By

Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSimplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerMy daughter Bri is in fifth grade and reads at a high school senior level, which is fantastic except that books at her reading level do not match her age level. She is obsessed with books about fairytales and reads books that spin off from Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. The young adult section is full of books along this happy, engaging genre. But that same section is also filled with stories about vampires, killing, witches, and every other level of creepy you can think of. I also like to read teen novels because they are more imaginative and about other worlds, instead of novels filled to the brim with adult problems reminding me of my adult problems. 

Recently, I read a teen novel that fell into the fairytale genre, a Chinese Cinderella in a way, and was excited to pass the book down to Bri when I finished reading. Then I read a section of the book where the main character killed a woman, ripped out her heart with her bare hands before eating the heart to gain power from the woman’s lifeblood. Yeah, too creepy to hand down to my almost eleven-year-old child who has never seen anything creepier than a dead armadillo on the side of the road. I needed to tell my avid reader she could not read this book when she had already been waiting impatiently for me to finish the book so she could read it next. 

I sat miss Bri down and told her I would not let her read the book until she was older. She looked disappointed and then in the nature of all children asked why. I could have told her ‘because I said so,’ or ‘I’ve decided the book is not appropriate,’ or ‘there is content in the book you are too young for.’ I said none of those things. Instead, I said, “The book was great and fairytale like but there were a few scenes where the main character ripped out the hearts of animals and even another human and ate them. The scenes were written in a lot of detail and I don’t think you needed to read such vivid scary scenes in such detail. To which Bri responded, “Ewww. Gross! I don’t want to read that. I will go get a different book.” Boy was I thankful she responded in that manner. 

Why, though, did I give her details instead of invoking my parental rights to say ‘because I said so’? Because curiosity killed the cat. Sometimes ‘because I said so’ suffices to answer a child’s question. Other times, their inquisitive nature will propel them into disobedience. Had I responded differently, there was a real chance Bri would have snuck the book up to her room and read by flashlight under her covers after she had been told to go to bed. She would have woken up screaming as she envisioned a waif-like Chinese princess ripping out her heart. No, thank you. 

Sometimes if you give your children enough information to sate their curiosity, you can prevent them from searching for more information, at least until they are old enough to understand more information. I tend to be blunt and truthful about topics that are too mature for my children. If we are watching a movie and an adult characters say something inappropriate for a child’s ears and my kids ask what they are speaking about, I will explain in enough detail to sate their curiosity without giving too much information. Tricky sometimes but worth the effort. 

If my husband and I, our children’s parents, do not answer their questions someone else will. It will be their friends brimming with incorrect answers like you can get pregnant by kissing a boy or worse, you cannot get pregnant the first time you engage in sex. My oldest is now thirteen and I am only a few months or a year away from girls and sex owning his brain and want him to come to me and my husband for questions and not his friends or Google. You get the gist. 

Think about how questions should be answered before they need to be answered. Like I said, I prefer to be blunt and honest. For example a conversation with Bri at about eight years old. 

 

Bri: “Mom, what is abortion?”

Me: “When a woman has a baby in her belly but doesn’t want the baby in her belly, she will have the baby removed with a surgery.”

Bri: “Doesn’t that kill the baby?”

Me: “Yes, it does kill the baby.”

Bri: “Then why do people do it if it kills their baby?”

Me: “Because they tell themselves the baby isn’t really a baby until it’s born so it’s okay to kill something that isn’t a person yet.”

Or…

Bri: “Mom, why is that man sticking his tongue in that woman’s mouth?”

Me: “It’s called a French kiss, and it feels good to kiss that way.”

Bri: “It looks and sounds gross.”

Me: “It does at your age but when you begin to like boys you will feel differently.”

Bri: “I’m never going to French kiss, boys better keep their tongue away from me.”

(Don’t we all wish they felt that way until thirty?)

Or…

Bri: “Mom, what is a serial killer?”

Me: “Somebody who kills more than one person.”

Bri: “Why would anyone want to kill someone?”

Me: “There are many reasons, but for serial killers, they seem to enjoy ending another person’s life. It makes them feel powerful.”

Bri: “Does it actually give them power?”

Me: “In a way, they have the power to end a person’s life.”

 

These are all topics and discussions most people feel should wait until children are older. I prefer to answer questions when my children ask them. My philosophy is if they are old enough to ask they are old enough for an honest answer. That does not mean they are old enough for details. As I said, we want to sate their curiosity by answering the question thoroughly enough for that child. This could be different for every child. My youngest, Alex, tends to continue asking why even after I answered her question, while my older two take my answer and move on. Why do they move on? I sated their curiosity. Every parenting style is different and there is nothing wrong with waiting to answer tough questions until children are older but be aware if you wait too long to answer their questions they will find someone else to answer their questions.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and is currently writing her first novel. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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