Taboo topics are not the easiest to chat to kids about. These entrepreneurs share savvy moves for tackling those taboo moments when little ones get curious
Parenthood is an incredible journey, especially when our little ones surprise us with their thought-provoking questions, even on those trickier, off-limits topics. It’s a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it? Should we dive into these subjects early on, or is it better to wait until our mischievous little explorers can grasp things better? We’ve been chatting with our Launchpad entrepreneurs to get the lowdown on their savvy ways of navigating these tricky questions.
Tackling taboo topics with kids
1. Nurture honesty
“I think the most important thing is to be open and honest with our little ones. Kids are curious and don’t judge topics as taboo, unlike grown-ups sometimes do. We parents have the power to shape our children’s minds and the future generation, so let’s make sure we set a good example and talk to them with kindness and respect.
My children are still young, so we haven’t had many significant conversations yet. However, we have discussed topics such as different races, why people look different, and visited churches and temples during our travels. I enjoy having these conversations with them as their minds are so open and innocent, and there is always a lot of questioning and laughter involved.”
Linda Morrison, Founder and Creative Director, MiliMilu
2. Be as open as possible
“Our kids are still very young, but we try to be as open as possible and to minimise ‘taboo’ subjects, as far as possible. Who knows if we’re doing it right, but here’s to trying!
This matches my approach in business. I run Phoenix Wills in Singapore, a Wills and Guardianship consultancy, which obviously centres around one of the classic taboos: passing away. We believe this should be talked about freely and openly – it is so important to have your affairs in order so that your loved ones are protected, should the worst happen. It’s the one certain event in our lives, so why don’t we talk about it?”
Lucy d’Ambrumenil, Managing Director, Phoenix Wills
3. Approach the topic with respect
“I don’t have children, but as an Early Childhood Educator, I can share about how these topics can be addressed. For topics like religion, we will talk about the topic of respect. There are many books to begin this topic, such as Carla’s Sandwich, Sulwe and Acceptance is My Superpower. Have a conversation with your child; help them to understand others and explain the different beliefs of the religions. We may not agree or believe, but we can respect others’ beliefs, as long as it doesn’t hurt others or yourself.”
Eileen Tan, Founder & Educator, Spacing
4. Encourage curiosity
“As a psychologist, entrepreneur, and a parent of a 6-year-old, I encourage my son to challenge me, to ask, to sit with the feelings, and to allow not having the answer to be an option too… to wonder and search together. We have our favourite thought-provoking question, ‘If you could have any superpower for a day, what would it be, and how would you use it to make the world a better place?’ (you can insert the taboo topic). I love how it nurtures trust and allows him to explore sensitive topics with confidence, knowing he can openly share his thoughts, questions, and that it is OKAY to FEEL it all.”
Beata Justkowiak, Psychologist & Emotion Queen, Energising Goals
5. Nurture healthy conversations
“I always thought of my kids as tiny babies who needn’t be burdened with heavy conversations. But I was surprised when my 5-year-old came back to share an episode from school that reminded me that education on taboo topics starts early! I try to navigate these conversations with my toddlers in a thoughtful manner. From an early age, we’ve introduced the concept of ‘privacy’ when they are changing clothes or visiting the bathroom, ensuring that even the 2-year-old understands the notion of personal space. Our commitment to using the correct biological terms for body parts extends to our discussions about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch.’ We maintain an open and honest atmosphere to help them distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate physical contact. These early conversations, paired with the values of respect and trust, lay the groundwork for my children’s understanding of their bodies and personal boundaries, which is vital in their development.”
Kriti Gupta, Founder & CEO, NIMBU
6. Foster positive attitudes
“As a potty training coach, my mission extends beyond entrepreneurship to advocate for open conversations around sensitive subjects like potty training and toilet breaks. In societies where these topics often carry embarrassment and taboos, my goal is to change perceptions. I’ve observed that children, even those in diapers from birth, exhibit natural curiosity about these processes. Embracing this curiosity, fostering positive attitudes, and maintaining an open-door policy when appropriate can make potty training smoother. Honest answers to their questions and celebrating milestones in toilet use can help children grow with confidence. Breaking these taboos ensures children transition comfortably into this crucial life stage.”
Alicja Pawlowska, Managing Director, Potty Training Coach, Tinkle Star
And there you have it! If you have a tip or two you would like to share with us, we are all ears. Drop us a DM!