Being Dad Education Parenting


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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Kids are full of questions. But do parents have all the answers? Half the time they don’t. Especially if the question is about science.

Question Time

A poll, of 2,000 parents, found 54 per cent are regularly confused by the deep and meaningful, or scientific questions posed by their children.

Well, be honest. Could you explain how the internet works? Or why a black hole exists? Thought not.

The average mum and dad face eight questions a month from their kids which they find difficult to respond to, either because they don’t know the answer or are too embarrassed. And 53 per cent admit that the more scientific the question, the less likely they are to be able to answer it.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that when stumped by their children’s natural curiosity, the average parent will turn to good old Google for the answers. On average, Google picks up the slack six times a month.


Inquisitive Kids

It’s no surprise that children are inquisitive, it’s how they learn about the world they live in. But parents will sometimes struggle when the question is awkward, or will lead to more embarrassing questions.

It isn’t just the awkward questions that children want answers to. They want to understand the world around them, learn about the planet, how things work and science. These are topics that may be tough to have all the answers to. So how do you respond?

Proud parents

You’d think it would be easy to just say “I don’t know.” when asked a perplexing question. However, only 47 per cent of parents polled were honest with their kids, admitting they didn’t have all the answers.

The remaining 53 per cent cobbled together answers that might be right, or sent their children to google an answer on the internet, or made them ask a sibling or teacher. A few even googled the correct answer, and then pretended they had known the answer all along.

In some cases parents knowingly gave their children the wrong answer rather than pleading ignorance. But 80 per cent admitted this backfired when their child repeated the incorrect information to other people, believing it to be right. Whoops.

Encourage curiosity

Parents shouldn’t be embarrassed or intimidated by their child’s inquisitive nature. Instead they should encourage it and seize these opportunities to learn with their kids.

A spokesman for ACS, who carried out the study as part of research into a Science Centre at its Hillingdon school, said “It’s important to encourage your children’s thirst for learning new things and even if you have to Google the answer yourself, it can help them develop an interest in an important subject as they get older.”

Curiosity helps children to develop the skills needed to learn. It’s a skill that will help them both academically and socially. This is why it’s important that parents are a part of the picture when it comes to their children’s learning. So they can support them along the way.

Could you answer these questions?

The questions most likely to leave parents stumped are ‘What does God look like?’ or ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ Followed closely by ‘Where do you go when you die and ‘Why is water wet?”

How many of these questions can you answer?

Top 30 impossible questions

1.     What does God look like?

2.     What came first, the chicken or the egg?

3.     Where do you go when you die?

4.     What are black holes?

5.     Why is water wet?

6.     Why do people die?

7.     How did the world begin?

8.     Where do babies come from?

9.     Why is the sea salty?

10.  Why is the moon sometimes out in the day?

11.  How does the internet work?

12.  Why is the sky blue?

13.  Where does wind come from?

14.  Why do we have a leap year?

15.  What makes the Earth spin?

16.  Why is blood red?

17.  What is infinity?

18.  How big is the world?

19.  Why doesn’t the sky fall down?

20.  Why does cutting onions make you cry?

21.  How do planes fly?

22.  How do telephones work?

23.  How does TV work?

24.  Why am I right/left handed?

25.  What is electricity?

26.  How do clouds float?

27.  How does the car work?

28.  How do the sun and moon stay in the sky?

29.  Why are people’s eyes different colours?

30.  How does lightning strike?