DELIGHTFUL TALES ABOUT DIFFICULT TOPICS 

DELIGHTFUL TALES ABOUT DIFFICULT TOPICS

Children are generally curious little beings. They love to explore and discover everything, but this nature of curiosity is usually accompanied by many many questions… especially the “but why‘s?“. Very often these questions can be unexpected and difficult to answer, or so I have experienced with A.

I still remember the very first time the topic of race came up with A. He was sitting in a barber‘s chair getting a haircut when I saw him suddenly inspecting his hands and then he said loud and proud: “Mommy… my hands are white and that uncle‘s are brown! We are not the same!“ He was around 3 years old and my heart went ice cold because I did not know what he could possibly say next, kids are unpredictable you know. He then continued with “Jesus made us all different colours and all the colours are beautiful like a rainbow.“ Right there my heart was overflowing with pride, because at only 3 years old he could see what so many adults still fails to see today. Ever since then the topic of race and our differences pops up very often and A has made me so much more aware of the lack of diversity in the world around us, and I say world because it‘s not limited to only South Africa.

Just the other day A told me that Angel Michael is real, because there‘s a friend in his class with the name Michael. I told him that off course Angel Michael is real and then he said something that shocked me to my core and left me speechless. He said “but mommy did you know he is a brown boy so when he goes to heaven he will turn white!“ I tried to not give a reaction immediately and I asked him why he would say something like that and simultaneously assured him that Angels are all different, just like us. He then asked me but why is there ever only white Angels in all of the stories he watches and Bible books that he reads?“. This was a big eye opener to me since I‘ve never really paid such close detail to the stories he watches or books that we read together, and it definitely did matter to him, so much so that he made his own conclusions and based his own understandings on that.

So, for the longest time I have been searching for resources to help me not only educate us, but to also help me answer those difficult why questions in a way that A can understand, and trust me there‘s tons of those! This is why I was so excited when @delightful_tales asked me if we would like to review their range of books! In order to understand my excitement though, I would first have to introduce you to who and what Delightful Tales are!

Who is Delightful Tales?

Delightful tales were found by Kim and her friend Graham who write kids books that are centred around encouraging conversations between parents and young kids that are normally difficult to start, for example racism. The name stems from the words “delightful” because diversity is the multicoloured lens that enriches our world and “difficult” because the stories encourage questions that some might find uncomfortable and that’s exactly why we need to have conversations about them. They have 3 books in their range at the moment:

1 Musa meets a million families

This books covers topics like what other families look like, where they live, their favourite foods, languages that different families communicates in, and what makes their family unique.

2. Willow asks why?

This book is beautifully illustrated and is written in rhyme. It covers the topic of race and why there seems to be different sets of rules for people of different races. The powerful message behind this fun story is that we should always question the world around us and learn to see the “invisible” roles that power and privilege play, because only then we can challenge them.

3. The story of Sihle and his stutter

This story follows Sihle as he learns to navigate the difficult challenges to having a stutter and is encouraged to keep facing up to his fears of talking.

What we loved about the Delightful Tales Books:

1 It’s fun to read

A and I have had so much fun reading these amazing books together and I love how it is written from a child‘s point of view. The stories are captivating and really puts you in the shoes of the different characters, in order for you to relate with them and thus gives you a better understanding of the topic at hand.

2. Beautiful Illustrations

The books are illustrated beautifully and captivates even the youngest of readers.

3. It’s great conversation starters

The books have really helped me navigate the conversations A and I have about things such as race and the differences between not only us as individuals but our families. I could immediately use this book to help with A’s Angel conversation to explain to him that it is not okay and that those are all things that need to change. It also helps us to see the world around us from different perspectives and to notice the small things we so easily take for granted.

4. It encourages change

I love how the books encourage our children to be that voice and to be the change just like the authors are. It also tells them to be kind always which everyone needs to hear a little more these days.

5. Activities at the back of the books

A absolutely LOVES the colouring pictures at the back of the Willow asks Why? book and he usually colours away as we speak about these important topics in an informal way. It also helps to allow the conversation to flow because A is at his calmest when he is colouring, so it was just a extra special little surprise for us both.

Eventhough I don’t think that discussing these difficult topics will ever get easier, I do feel that it is important, because avoiding these topics completely can leave our children with misunderstandings and fears that are not probably addressed as in my experience with A. As parents we are the first line of support for our children and I always want A to feel like he could talk to me about anything, to feel safe and to trust me for guidance and reassurance. Establishing this open line of communication about tough issues helps younger minds develop deeper understandings, independent opinions, and positive coping skills. I am just grateful that we have such amazing resources to help and guide us on this important journey.

If you are unsure about how to start addressing these difficult topics with your little ones, have a look at the tips below:

1.Take your environment into consideration

We want to ensure our littles are comfortable before we start to approach a difficult conversation with them. It is important to also limit the amount of distractions in the environment when starting with the conversation, so limit toys or technology. I have found that the best time for us to speak about serious matters is while we are getting ready for bed. A and I usually lie together and we will start off by telling each other about our day and then move onto more serious things such as things that bothers us, etc. We are both 100% focussed on each other during this time, which makes it easier to bring up and talk about these topics.

2. Take note of your own personal emotional state

Very often you, as a parent, will also be emotionally affected by some of the questions your child might have on a topic, which can make supporting your own child through them a little more difficult. While it is important to be honest about your emotions in front of your child, we also need to have these conversations without getting overwhelmed or react negatively to them. If you feel like you need a break from the conversation or that you need some time to get yourself together that is perfectly okay as well. Just reassure your child and support them and acknowledge your emotions in a calm manner.

3. Talk to your child and find out his/her own thoughts on the topic

I always love to start these conversations by asking A how he currently feels about it, or how he understands it. This helps me get a baseline and we can easily build on that. Once we have had a conversation together, I always end it off by asking him if he has any more questions or concerns about the topics and we then tackle those together.

4. Take note of your child’s emotional state

Sometimes children are just not ready to discuss a hard topic just yet, so it’s always important to observe their body language and behaviour. If they seem anxious they might need a little more re-assurance, and if they seem distracted, or bored we might have to change the way we are speaking about the topic. It is however important to never force a conversation if they don’t seem ready to discuss it yet, rather just open the line of communication and let them come to you when they are ready.

5. Always be honest and tell the truth

If you feel like you need to lie about the topic or be dishonest about it YOU might not be ready for this conversation, let that sink in. There really is no use in talking to our children about a difficult topic if we intend on lying about it.

6. Find some fun child-friendly resources to help you explain the topic

Children observe the world through all of their senses, that is how they learn, so get them involved in the learning. Let them colour, let them paint, use finger or hand puppets and invest in some awesome resources like the Delightful Stories range to help you.

I want to leave you with a very powerful quote today: “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.”

To read more about the Delightful Tales range tap on the link ——–> https://delightfultales.co.za

You can also find them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/delightful_tales/?hl=en

Lots of Love

~ A and Mommy ~

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