Parents, how much information is too much information

09 January 2020
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Updated 09 January 2020

Parents, how much information is too much information

As a millennial mother, I can’t help but overthink everything when it comes to the well-being of my children.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of trust and letting go, but with every story I hear, the anxiety and overthinking kicks up again like an unwanted crazy guest.

From eating habits and sources of food, to electronic addiction and cyber bullying, to the many different ways of discipline.

The list of concerns that our generation is going through, which our parents were lucky to not have to worry about, is long and hard. The reason is either because the issues that rose now weren’t there in the past, or simply because the internet hasn’t invaded their lives yet.

A while ago, I took a course with Dr. Heba Hariri on sexual education for children. I signed up wanting to be prepared and to have the tools to answer any questions that come from my children in an educated and well-informed manner.

But what I ended up learning is that sensitive issues have to be tackled skilfully. I was assured that parents should be the main source of knowledge in any sensitive issue. Waiting for a child to come in and ask means that they were exposed to the information from an outside source, and if the parents are lucky the child will come to them to learn more.

The information in the course was detailed to age-appropriate information. I finished feeling confident that I can educate and answer any question that comes my way without any shame or confusion. But what resonated with me the most was the idea of filling up a child’s curiosity void versus letting them learn the details on their own.

As a parent or a guardian, our role is to fill that curiosity void with information and knowledge so when a child is faced with issues and challenges, they will be aware and will be able to make an informed decision.

That simple statement made sense to me and gave me the clear guide that I needed as a parent.

I started thinking: When it comes to children, is there such a thing as too much information? This is especially relevant when addressing the issue of illicit drugs, which is every parent’s nightmare.

While some might argue that educating children on this subject will only give them ideas of things to try, others would disagree that if the education was done in a way that would emphasize the child’s sense of individuality, and the power they have over their life, the results will be different.

Growing up sitting around the lunch table, my father gave us the general drug lecture, and how going down that road can ruin our lives. He would then wrap it up with a couple of general stories on the matter to make sure the lesson is embedded into our brains.

That lecture was effective enough that it scared me and killed any curiosity on the matter. 

But now with the stories we hear of children buying Xanax pills from mini markets next to their school, and other stories of primary school children inhaling lighter fluid to get high, I cannot help but think when teaching children, will the generalization and insinuations attitude around a subject that we were brought up with be enough to keep them from wanting to “experiment”? Or has giving them details of the dangers that are lurking around them became essential to protect them?

• Sara Eyad Khashoggi is a mother of four children, and an Instagram blogger. Currently a business development manager at WTL creative studio.