How much do you tell your kids?

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

Wednesday night, I broke our family rule -- I caused us to exceed one visit to the emergency room per year. This was, in fact, our third so far this year. I was in the kitchen when the floor suddenly dropped about two feet. I gasped, thinking it was either an earthquake or that the foundation of the house had collapsed. The only thing was, the light in the kitchen, which hangs from a chain, wasn't moving and Rachel had felt nothing.

The same sensation happened a couple more times and then whenever I took a step, it felt like I was on a trampoline or a boat in rough waters. Or maybe on a trampoline on a boat in rough water. It was weird enough (albeit kind of cool) that I called my doctor. He decided he wanted me to be seen tonight, just in case it was something serious.

Of course, we had just put the kids down and Rachel didn't want me driving, so we called her brother to come stay with them. Sara was -- surprisingly -- already fast asleep, but Jared was still up. I went in to let him know that we were going out and where we were going. He asked why I had to go to the E.R. and I told him I was feeling dizzy.

I know from past experience that dizziness can be a symptom of or precursor to a stroke, but I didn't want to worry him with that -- the other possibility was an ear infection. This is something he knows about, since Sara had one earlier this year. I told him his uncle was coming to take care of him and that we would be back in a little bit.

Naturally, I knew full well that the "little bit" part was an outright lie. I also didn't come completely clean on the potential seriousness of the situation. He's a growing boy and has more important things to worry about than a serious but unlikely problem like a stroke -- heck, at his age, he doesn't even need to know what a stroke is.

Sometimes, however, I worry about not being totally open and honest with him. Is it better to protect kids from having to worry about some things or should parents discuss even potential issues such as strokes and heart attacks with their kids?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.