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I have an “Ask Ali” question that hopefully you can answer! I work with someone who is now pregnant for her fourth time. She has one child. This would be the third pregnancy after her child, as the others have resulted in miscarriages. I want to be happy for her, but she is scared to be excited. What do I say? It’s a challenging situation—you don’t want to get too excited and you don’t want to be doom and gloom.
What a thoughtful friend you are for reaching out and asking how best to be a good friend to her! She is lucky to have your caring and thoughtful friendship.
After so much loss, it is perfectly normal for her to feel anxious and/or scared. Maybe even superstitious. You need to follow her lead and understand that her anxiety may not wane. Be excited for her. Share in her joy. And acknowledge that it’s also a scary thing to go through. Do not tell her that it will all be fine or will work out the way it should. Just be there when she’s excited and hug her when she’s feeling scared. Allow her to just share her thoughts and feelings with you without judgment. You don’t even necessarily need to comment. You can just nod and squeeze her hand.
Of course, all of this depends on how close you two are. If it’s just a work acquaintance, I would just say congratulations.
Here is a site for supporting someone after a miscarriage: www.missfoundation.org
How do I talk to my little one about all the negative and scary stuff that is going on in the world today? He’s only 7, but he hears a lot on the radio, on TV, etc. The other day he asked me why some people were so mean to “Donald Duck Trump.” He also overheard me talking about the Stanford University sexual assault case. I was on the phone and didn’t mean for him to hear, but I know he did. Should I pretend it didn’t happen? Or ask him what he heard? And about Trump—is it too early to start talking to my son about politics and my views?
Signed, Mom Trying Hard in a Complicated World
Kids (and adults) are afraid of what they don’t know or understand. Ignorance breeds fear. What you want to do is tell them just enough to make sure they aren’t afraid, but not so much that you actually make them more afraid. The trick is to really listen and ask about what it is that they want to know. And then tell them in a calm, loving, reassuring, age-appropriate way.
If your child is talking about and asking about anything then it’s certainly not too early to talk about it. This goes for politics, sex, or any other difficult conversation. Just remember that it needs to be age-appropriate and geared toward your child. One eight-year-old may be more mature and receptive than a 12-year-old. You know your kid best.
Your kids are learning about your politics and worldviews by watching you. You probably don’t have to sit down and define socialism (for example) to a five-year-old. But you want to make sure you are modeling the behavior you want to encourage from your child. If you believe in socialism (again, for example), but don’t help others in need, what are you teaching your child? When discussing politics or religion with an older or more intellectual child, you might consider having an unbiased discussion about all sides of the coin: conservative versus liberal, religious versus spiritual, various religions, and allow your child to make their own educated decisions.
Do we want our kids to be blissfully ignorant? Or aware of what’s going on in the world? We don’t want them to be afraid. We want them to get good sleep. But we also don’t want them walking around with unanswered questions. That just leads to anxiety and fear. So, know your child. Be age-appropriate and don’t say more than they need to know to calm their fears. That’s what the little ones are really asking. Are we safe? Are we going to be okay?
You want them to be safe, but you also want them to feel safe.
If they are asking, answer them. Otherwise they will look elsewhere for answers and you won’t get to decide what and how much they know.