How to know the 'right' answer

Christine Wright, freelance author, Bible scholar and busy grandparent, suggests ways to feel more confident about handling children’s questions.

There will be times when you simply do not know the answer to a question but you know there is an answer somewhere. One way of dealing with this is to say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out and let you know the next time we meet.’ If you promise this, make sure you follow it up and do find the answer and share it with the child. This will show the child that you take their questions seriously and that you are trustworthy: you do what you say you will do.

But an even better way is to say: ‘I don’t know. Let’s see if we can find out the answer together.’

Finding the answer could involve checking a Bible reference book, going to a library, researching online, asking someone who may know – or going to the Family Hub on the Guardians of Ancora website.

It may be that you still cannot find an answer. But trying to find out together does much more than answering a question: it shows the child how to research an answer so they will learn how to do this for themselves; it demonstrates that it is OK to ask – and that their questions are taken seriously; it gives them – and you – an answer that you did not know before, and deepens your understanding; and it helps build the relationship of trust between you.