12 March 2013

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I love to do research, to think and ponder things through.  But all the research and preparation is not going to make it easy to tell my children that a relative has died.  A member of our immediate family is terminally ill.  The prognosis is poor, my guess is that he has twelve to eighteen months.  My children have both had, at some point, a fascination with death.  The fascination was as a result of dead animals that we found.  They asked many, many questions about what had happened to each animal and if it was in our garden kept returning to it to check on it.  However the death of an animal that they have no attachment to is rather different to the death of a relative.

I have no idea how they currently really feel about this relative, and probably never will.  I have no idea how they will react when the time comes.  What I feel is that I need to be open with them.  To talk about death with them so they are comfortable with it.  I need to be sure that they are able and feel able to talk about it whenever they want and that I am available to listen and be present with them.

My children are still very young, my youngest may not remember this relative at all as time passes.  I would like to put together a memory book with them.  A collection of photos and words,  if they want to it would be good if some of the words are theirs, their memories.  I hope that we will be able to use the book to remember him and talk about him.

On so many levels I am not looking forward to the day when I have to have my tough conversation, but I hope that by giving it some thought, I can be mindful with my words and, it will be as positive an experience as it is possible to be for us all.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn't Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she's explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she's learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren't so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she's had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller's Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter's horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges--when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who'd want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn't have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.


  1. It is hard to talk about death with very little ones, because they have no grasp of the finality of it. I agree that a memory book is a nice way to help them remember the relative. Depending on what illness the person has, you may be able to find relevant picture books that can help your children understand what is going on. Wishing you peace!

  2. I like the idea of a memory book. It's so hard when they're little to explain death in terms they'll understand. I've found it takes a lot of repetition and a lot of answering questions. Peace to you and your family.

  3. You are doing the best thing possible by giving this lots of thought and preparing yourself for the inevitable conversation. A memory book is a lovely idea. I have been surprised by how matter of fact my kids were concerning death, and how unsentimental - but they (thankfully) have not lost an immediate relative.

    Gillian x

  4. Thank you for sharing the memory book idea. What an interesting way to honor the person and also give you and the future versions of your children insight into their minds now. How old are they? A few years' difference can be really big developmentally in how they process death. I wish you the best through this difficult time and beyond.

  5. I agree with being open with our children. If we aren't open with them, how can we possibly expect them to be open with us? Many of the topics which are difficult for many parents to discuss are only difficult because no one was open to discussing them with us.


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