What do you tell kids who ask questions about your scars?
My left arm is heavily scarred from cutting.
Tonight at dinner, my three year old nephew Allen for the second time, "what happened?" pointing to my scars.
He also asked at Thanksgiving dinner. My mom pretty much just answered for me then and told him they were lines and when he asked why again, she just said, "because she likes lines."
I have him the same answer tonight and he looked at me questioning after I told him they were just lines and said, "Pippy (my cat) bite you?"
I told him yes.
I honestly thought about this, that there would come a time time when my sister's kids, maybe even someday my own, would ask about my scars. I thought about that when my oldest nephew was only a few months old and he'll be seven the end of January. I never really figured out the right thing to do about it. When my oldest new first asked, he was three, so I guess I should have seen this coming. At that time my sister answered for me. She told him they were old boo-boos that left marks. And even now that he's nearly seven, he hasn't asked about them again.
I guess it's different with the little ones. Instead of worrying about judgment or rejection, it's more about trying to protect them from the truth. That there was pain there.
I deal mainly with older kids, and tend to go for "ooh, that's a personal question" as it teaches them a bit about manners as well. For smaller kids, I'd probably say I got hurt when I was younger but I'm OK now, or "something scary" and then distract them by pretending to be a lion and jump out and scare them :P
It helps to be plan what you want to say in different situations so that you don't feel panicked if and when the questions do arrive.
Similar to Jenna, with smaller kids I usually just say I had an accident and it was scary, and i don't like talking about it. Then I ask them if they've ever had any accidents.
Especially when it's family, it can be tricky. I know when my cousins were young for example, I had to sit down with my aunt and uncle and ask how they wanted me to handle it and what they thought was age appropriate to say. Now my cousins are both in college and while I've never explicitly told them, they do know that they're self harm scars, but they're not judgemental about it.
I agree with having a plan, but when it is something like family, you may also need to make sure to check first to see what their parents are okay with you sharing and how. In public it's a lot easier to say that it's private or personal, or just from an accident.
I don't think you have to ignore or shy away from the pain. You can say that it is from a bad or scary time in your life, and that it's hard for you to talk about. There's definitely ways to do that which can be age appropriate and not be too explicit.
thanks Auror, my cousins (3 to 4 years younger than me) asked what happened and i just said that i fell and since i'm really clumsy they believed it but- i'm not so sure what i'll say if they ask about the ones on my thighs or lower legs....
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