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What to Tell My Children?

CD Knowles 6 months ago

Dear Knowles,

I probably speak for many parents in America when I say I don’t know how to answer my children’s questions about war. “Are we going to be attacked?” they ask and my attempts to deflect just don’t cut it. “Are bombs going to hit us?” “Is there going to be war?” “What if you or Daddy get killed?” The questions go on and on. My kids are six and eight, a boy and a girl. You can say don’t let them watch TV or keep them off the internet, but that just doesn’t work and anyway they hear all sorts of stuff at school, too. I need a good answer, a bit of a thoughtful one-size-fits-all that’s soothing and believable. Can you please help?

Thank you,

What to Tell My Children

tell my children

Dear What,

In my opinion, the truth, if possible, is always best. You can explain things in simple terms that are understandable to younger children. For instance: “Countries can get into terrible arguments, just like people. When words don’t work, they might lose their tempers and resort to the use of weapons to resolve a disagreement. And that is why it’s so important to have an official body, like the UN, help them negotiate their differences.” It’s important to keep the tone reassuring and confident when talking about war to children. Discuss your own personal opinions and stories they might hear in school or on TV. You want to keep things as normal as possible. Let them know you will do your best to keep them and the family safe, and if they’re afraid or have questions they should come directly to you. If we were living in different times, with better leadership, I’d say you could trot out some platitude about having faith in our government or military, but sadly that’s not necessarily the case right now. So, hang in there, mama, and trust your judgment. I have a feeling you’re going to do just fine.

CD Knowles


neglected wife

Dear Neglected,

If my husband treated me like that, I’d be kind of relieved. He’s always on top of me, making demands, in my face. I’m not allowed to have any private life whatsoever and it’s a pain in the ass, believe me. You should count yourself lucky that you can go out and do what you want.

Penny W., Staten Island, NY


Dear Neglected,

You want a man’s point of view? Here it is: after working hard and bringing up a family a husband should be allowed to do whatever he wants, and if that means sitting in front of a TV all day long, so be it. Of course, that kind of behavior might cause his wife to leave him or take up with someone else, a risk he’ll have to seriously consider. Best course of action is to spend quality time with the wife at least once a week, more if he knows what’s good for him. Why? Happy wife, happy life.

Sid J., Portland, OR


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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.

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