A difficult part of parenting that I haven’t quite faced yet is having tough conversations about complex issues – which is why this video from CanaVox, on talking to kids about gender ideology, was very interesting to me. Not only did it open my eyes to a number of possible ways in which questions could come up for my kids in the future, it also had some really helpful guidelines about how to approach difficult topics.

In this particular video, Dr Ana Samuel focuses on talking to children aged around 5-10 years old (there are more videos that address the same for older kids) about gender ideologies. She stressed the importance of answering our kids’ questions in a way that respects all people but still speaks the truth, using four pedagogical principles:

1. Stay grounded in natural law. Natural law speaks the truth. In the case of gender ideologies, parents of religious backgrounds may be keen to use faith as an argument, but for kids who are questioning things, this may not always be a good enough reason. 

2. Speak intimately. This point was about building a relationship from early on where you can speak openly and intimately with your kids. If this is the context, it will be easier to broach difficult topics with them too. Learn to listen to the things that are important to them, so when the time comes for you to bring something up, they’re happy to reciprocate and listen. Dr Ana also suggests keeping calm even if you are horrified by what they have heard or the questions they have, so they’re not too scared by your reaction to come to you again. Another good hint is to ask them first what their reaction was, to give yourself some time to prepare your answer. And if you don’t have the answers, acknowledge that it’s a very important question, and that you’d like to get back to them on once you’ve had the time to think about it a little, or discuss it with your spouse or someone who might have good advice. 

3. Speak age-appropriately to your kids. Dr Ana recommends doing this by first answering their exact question without embellishing. If they question further then they obviously need a little bit more information to satisfy their query.

4. Practise moral balance in your conversations. By this, Dr Ana speaks on making sure to communicate truth and justice, but all with a lot of empathy to those who do not understand the truth, and for those who may be living in ways that you don’t necessarily agree with.

The rest of the video goes through a number of common scenarios, and how a calm and informative conversation might follow. I think it’s definitely worth a watch, and something that provides a helpful approach for dealing with all manner of difficult questions from our children.

CanaVox is an interfaith marriage and sexual-integrity movement founded by modern moms who haven’t forgotten timeless principles.

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.