How to connect with pre-teens and answer their questions?

Adult and child engaged in shared learning, looking at a book together to seek answers to their questions.

In a world that’s constantly evolving, the role of parents is more important than ever in helping their children navigate the complexities of life. As a day and boarding school providing education from nursery to secondary levels, we understand the significance of the parent-child bond and how it impacts a child’s development. One of the key aspects of this bond is effectively answering the myriad of questions children throw your way. In this blog, we will explore strategies for answering pre-teen questions while strengthening the parent-child relationship.

Understanding the importance of kid’s questions

Pre-teen years are a crucial point in a child’s life. They are curious, impressionable, and looking for guidance. The doubts they ask are not just a curiosity-driven phase, but a reflection of their developing awareness of the world around them. when they come to you with their questions, it’s not just about giving a quick answer. It’s about understanding that your responses can shape their growth. Taking the time to answer their doubts patiently and with empathy can make a world of difference in their development.

1. Create a safe and open environment

Before diving into strategies, it’s crucial to create an environment where your child feels safe asking questions. Encourage them to share their thoughts, concerns, and curiosity with you. Let them know that no doubt is too silly or unimportant. By establishing an open line of communication, you lay the foundation for a strong parent-child bond.

2. Listen actively

When your kid asks doubts, give them your full attention. This shows that you value their queries and respect their need for understanding. Active listening helps you grasp the context of their question, allowing you to respond in a way that is relevant and appropriate.

3. Clarify the question

Sometimes, pre-teens may not express themselves clearly, leading to confusing problems. Instead of assuming what they mean, ask for clarification. For example, if your little one asks, “Why do people fight?” You could respond by saying; “That’s an interesting query. Are you asking about arguments between people or conflicts in general?”

4. Age-appropriate answers

It’s important to adjust your responses to your little one’s age and comprehension level. children may not yet have the emotional or cognitive capacity to grasp complex concepts. Provide answers that are simple, concise, and suited to their developmental stage. If they require more information, they will likely ask for it.

5. Be honest

Honesty is key to building trust with your kid. If you don’t know the answer to a problem, don’t make something up. Admit that you’re unsure and suggest looking for the answer together. This not only teaches your little one the value of seeking knowledge but also strengthens your relationship.

6. Encourage critical thinking

Pre-teen questions are a wonderful chance to help nurture their critical thinking skills. Instead of simply giving them the answer, let’s encourage them to explore and discover on their own. For instance, when they ask ‘Why is the sky blue?’ You can respond; ‘That’s an excellent question! What’s your guess? Why do you think the sky might be blue?

7. Share personal experiences

Sharing your own experiences can make your answers relatable and humanize you in your little one’s eyes. If they ask about a mistake you made in the past, don’t hesitate to share the story and the lessons you learned from it. This can help them understand that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s all part of growing up.

8. Respect their privacy

As kids start heading into their pre-teen years, they’re beginning to figure out who they are. They might start having all these questions about themselves, and their feelings. It’s super important to be there for them, but also give them their space. If there’s something they don’t feel like talking about, just let them know it’s fine. Tell them you’re always around whenever they’re ready to have the conversation. They’ll appreciate knowing you’re there for them.

9. Avoid judging or criticising

Pre-teen doubts may touch on sensitive subjects, including morality and ethics. It’s important not to judge or criticize their queries. Instead, provide a balanced perspective and encourage them to think critically about right and wrong. This helps them develop their moral compass.

10. Empathize with their emotions

Sometimes, pre-teen questions are not just about seeking knowledge but also a way of expressing emotions. When they ask about doubts related to feelings, show empathy and understanding. For example, if they ask, “Why do I feel so angry sometimes?” respond with, “I can see that you’re feeling angry. It’s okay to feel this way sometimes and we can work through it together.”

11. Address fears and anxieties

Pre-teens may have fears or anxieties related to various aspects of life, such as school, friendship, or the future. Listen attentively and provide reassurance. You can say, “I understand that you’re worried about starting a new school. It’s natural to feel a bit nervous. Let’s talk about it and I’ll support you in any way I can.”

12. Follow up

Once you’ve given them an answer, check in with your kiddo and ask, “Hey, is there anything else you’re curious about or want to talk more about regarding this topic? I’m here to listen. It’s a great way to show them that you’re always eager to hear what’s on their mind and discuss things further.

13. Use resources wisely

If a problem requires more information than you can provide, use age-appropriate resources such as books, websites, or educational videos to further your understanding. This not only improves their knowledge but also teaches them how to access information independently.

14. Celebrate curiosity

It’s so important to celebrate your kid’s curiosity. Whenever they ask questions or show interest in something, give them lots of praise and encouragement. Let them know that being curious is a good quality that can help them learn and grow. It’s all about fostering that natural desire to explore and discover new things.

15. Enjoy learning together

Make learning a fun experience. Explore topics of interest together, embark on educational outings, or engage in creative projects This way, your kid can discover and learn excitingly and enjoyably.

In a boarding school environment like ours, where children spend a significant portion of their day away from home, the bond between parents and pre-teens becomes even more critical. It’s important for parents to actively engage in their child’s life, and one of the best ways to do so is by being responsive and supportive when it comes to their interrogation and concerns.

Strengthening the parent-child bond during the pre-teen years not only fosters a sense of security and trust but also plays a vital role in your kid’s emotional and intellectual development. Remember that children’s queries are an opportunity to connect, educate, and grow together. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate this challenging yet rewarding phase of parenting, helping your child develop into a confident and well-rounded individual.

At our day and boarding school, we understand the importance of not only providing academic education but also supporting parents in their journey of nurturing their kid’s development. If you have any problems or would like more guidance on parenting pre-teens, feel free to reach out to our school counselors. We’re here to assist you in this remarkable journey of parenthood.