The Importance of the Answers You Give to Your Children

Children ask questions as a way of discovering more about the world around them. Your answers can boost their curiosity and self-esteem. 
The Importance of the Answers You Give to Your Children
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Children are curious by nature. They’re in full discovery of the world and, therefore, ask us questions frequently. Sometimes, we’re busy or distracted and use any excuse to avoid the situation. However, the answers you give to your children are of great importance.

The information you provide as well as your attitude when responding can influence parts of their personality and self-esteem. Even though sometimes we’re inclined to offer a vague or ambiguous answer, we should always try to react properly to children’s questions.

Listen to their questions

It’s true that in our daily life we have numerous obligations and little time to fulfill them. Thus, we tend to act hastily and can’t always afford a break to have a deep conversation with our children. Nonetheless, it’s important to convey to children the idea that their questions are important and that their curiosity is valuable.

Maybe they ask a question at the wrong moment, but it’s best to admire their initiative and resume the conversation later. When we have time, let’s sit down with our children and pay full attention to them. A gesture as small as valuing, addressing, and giving importance to their questions will have a positive effect on their self-image.

The Importance of the Answers You Give to Your Children

This way, they’ll understand how positive it is to inquire about how the world works and want to know more about it. They’ll begin to feel that they’re valuable and interesting people since mom and dad take into account the things they say.

Sincerity in the answers you give to your children

When sharing information with children, it’s important that it be true. It’s evident that we must adapt the message to their age and cognitive abilities; nevertheless, it’s preferable that our response is sincere.

Doing this will strengthen our children’s confidence in us and we’ll be a model of honesty for them. They’re more likely to feel comfortable opening up to us if we foster a relationship of closeness and sincerity from the beginning.

Whether we talk about general culture (for example, the dreaded question: “Where do children come from?”) or if we refer to our own feelings (“Why are you crying, mom?”), opting for an honest answer is the best way

It’s more beneficial for children’s intellectual and emotional development to hear an adapted version of what reproduction is, rather than to listen to the ancient stork story. Likewise, it will be more enriching to know that mom cries because she feels sad at the moment and it’s a normal emotion. Responding by saying: “nothing’s wrong” may confuse them even more.

On the same topic of sincerity, if we don’t know the answer to any of our children’s questions, it’s better to admit it naturally and propose to look for the answer together. In doing so, we’ll be teaching them about how to be resourceful, such as going to a dictionary or looking for a book in the library that’s about the topic.

The Importance of the Answers You Give to Your Children

Foster their critical thinking

Whenever you can, try to offer answers to your children that make them use their imagination and their intellect. Sometimes, it’s more enriching to get help to discover the answer yourself, instead of getting the solution all at once.

Invite them to express what they think about their questions and what the answers might be. Also, ask for their opinion of the answer you gave them and encourage stimulating conversations.

Be careful with the answers you give to your children

Asking questions is one of the main ways that children build their conception of the world around them. As parents, we’re their main references, which is why it’s crucial to be mindful of how we react and respond.

Developing strong self-esteem in our children is in our hands, as well as conveying that they’re intelligent, creative and capable. Likewise, by taking the time to answer their questions, we’ll also be strengthening our bonds with them. Finally, let our words be a guide, but let the kids themselves experience, discover and find out information on their own.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Vargas Rubilar, J. A., & Oros, L. B. (2011). Parentalidad y autoestima de los hijos: una revisión sobre la importancia del fortalecimiento familiar para el desarrollo infantil positivo.
  • de Piaget, T. D. D. C. (2007). Desarrollo Cognitivo: Las Teorías de Piaget y de Vygotsky. Recuperado de http://www. paidopsiquiatria. cat/archivos/teorias_desarrollo_cognitivo_07-09_m1. pdf.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.