Thursday, May 6, 2010

Deployment Question #18--How do you answer your children's questions?

My little sister called today to ask me why we celebrate Cinco De Mayo.  I googled it.  Her son seemed satisfied with the response, and we learned something.

Then my nephew has questions about his Uncle Gunner and war.

"What happens if a bad guy shoots at the good guys and they aren't looking over there?"
"What happens if a bad guy shoots a rock?"

Simple answers were given to the first question--they have Soldiers that look all over the place for bad guys, in order to stay safe.  To the second, it's not a good idea to shoot at rocks.

My kids have asked me some hard questions over the last three deployments to Iraq, and harder questions of their dad.

There are the easy ones such as why are we over there?  How long will Daddy be gone?  Why does he have to take so much stuff?

Then there are the hard ones that they ask of their dad.  Have you shot anyone?  (He's managed to put this in basic terms and not answer the question)  Has anyone shot at you?  What if your gun doesn't work?  What if you get scared?  What happens if they blow up your vehicle?  Do you know anyone who has died?  The list goes on and on.

He will answer them in ways that they understand, and he withholds a lot of specific information.

I knew someone that never told their child that their dad was deployed, because it would have upset them too much, so they said he was at work every day (this was an 8 year old).

Me, personally, I would never lie to my kids like that.

Then I have known other children that can spout off explosions, firefights, confirmed kills, etc.

To me, that's insane for a child to know.

What tough questions do your kids ask, and how do you handle them?  What do you do if you don't have the answer that satisfies them?


Anonymous said...

Our daughter started asking questions about halfway through the last deployment (she was 2 at the time and 3 1/2 when he returned) about what daddy had to do over there. So I told her that just like she has to go to time out sometimes or she gets in trouble and gets spankings, daddy has to go and put the bad guys in time out. She bought that answer and told that to everybody until recently. Now she asks why daddy has to go over there again, what if daddy can't hide good enough and the bad guys shoot him, has daddy ever blown something up with his tank, has he ever shot his gun at the bad guys, list goes on and on and on. And we answer the questions as honestly as we feel we can without scaring her or whatnot. But this time she is scared, she is going to be 5 when he leaves this time and she knows whats going on (to a certain extent). She can handle it better than some 13 year olds that I have known though.

We decided from the beginning that we would not tell her that he was at work because we did not want her freaking out when he did go to work.

Its not too bad telling her what we can and letting her know what daddy really does but she did I think scare our civilian neighbor (we live off post) when their daughter was asking mine what her daddy did and her response was "My daddy goes to Iraq and shoots the bad guys with his tank." The mom looked frightened when she heard those words come out of my daughters mouth. Up until then she did not know what my husband did. And the little girl automatically thought my husband was a meanie because he shoots people. That took some explaining!

On a Journey said...

I haven't had that many deployment questions because the kids were too little the last time he went. However, this is the question I get every week and I have a hard time explaining so that they "get it". Is Jesus dead? Every week. I try to explain that he did die but he is now alive in heaven....they just are not getting the concept yet. :)

Uncle Dan said...

I have handled the questions the
same way Chris has, except my work was a little more clandestine.