Last Wednesday night’s presentation by Globe parenting columnist & blogger Barbara Meltz was wonderful! Barbara shared a lot of useful information about handling those times when we have to talk with our children about something difficult or scary. I’m sure everyone there had their own “take-home” but for me, what really resonated was the part about laying the groundwork in everyday life for the difficult conversations, and in so doing, becoming an “askable parent.” One technique Barbara shared for when kids ask questions about anxiety-inducing topics (9/11, marathon bombing, etc.) is to turn the question back to them and ask what they have heard about the topic. This both buys us time to think, but also gives us a framework for answering at the developmentally-appropriate level, i.e. telling the child what he/she is ready to hear and understand.

Some suggested reading from Barbara’s library:

Taking Back Childhood – Nancy Carlsson-Paige

The Case for Make-Believe – Susan Linn

Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World – Barbara Meltz

No: Why Kids–of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It – Dr. David Walsh