As most of you know, I watch children for a living. My current family has eight boys. I’m mostly in charge of the youngest two, but I do have a houseful to care for when school is out. I had an interesting conversation with the three-year old last week that has been on my mind.
It all started when the nine-year old and I were talking about pictures that we draw. He loves art. I told him my father was an artist and that I should bring a few samples of his artwork. He picked up on the “WAS” as artist, and asked if my father was dead. I told him that yes, he had passed away many years ago. The three-year old (I will call him P) must have been listening to the conversation.
A few days later, we are outside playing in the water, when P suddenly asked, “Kathy, is your dad dead?”
I like to answer all questions honestly, but carefully too, if you know what I mean. I just simply said, “Yes he is.” and tried to move on with our activity.
P was not ready to end the conversation. “Why did he die?”
“He was very sick. He couldn’t get better.” I answered.
He thought about that for a minute, and then asked. “Why don’t you heal him?”
“Sweety, I couldn’t heal him. He was just too sick. Now, let’s play!”
He still was not ready to drop the subject. “Did you give him a potion?”
P is really curious about the subject. He plays Minecraft and his character dies, but comes back. He watches his brothers play video games, and if their avatars are hurt or ill, they use a potion to fix the problem. I can understand why this is baffling to him. He probably thinks I’m terrible because I didn’t give my dad a potion.
On the touchy subjects, it’s sometimes hard for me to know how much I should explain without the parent’s permission. I don’t want to scare a child, but I also don’t want him to think that what he sees on a game is even close to real life!
I just told him that games are not real, they are just pretend, and those kinds of potions only exist on games and not in real life. I convinced him to not worry about all of that for now and to just have fun playing in the water. I am going to talk to the parents and let them decide how much they want him to know for now. I just keep thinking about it and it has been bothering me. I get into some interesting situations on the job!