I need some advice. On Sunday I am meeting James’s nephew, who is 6. Obviously, I have scars which are mainly on my left arm, and some are pretty bad keloid scars. I asked James what he wanted me to say if his nephew asked about them, and he told me it was up to me. Now, I am all for being honest, but I am not sure it is a good idea to try to explain to a six year old that someone is capable of injuring themself in that way – first off I’m not sure a child of that age would understand, and secondly, I’m not sure I want to put an idea like that in his head, and spoil his childhood innocence.
How would you guys deal with it? What would you say? I was thinking something along the lines of “I had some bad things happen to me” but then that could open myself up to him asking what things. Like I said, I don’t want to lie as I want him to know I am someone that will always tell him the truth. I also don’t want him to think it is a normal behaviour, something that is acceptable to do.
This is what my arm looks like now:
At what age do you think a child can actually consciously understand the concept of self harm? At what age is it appropriate to discuss it with them? It’s all good if it your own child and they have seen those scars since birth, and they are part of ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ but what about when you are interacting with a child who has never encountered it before? Would it be acceptable to say ‘I’ll tell you when you are older’? Like I said, I don’t to lie, but is this situation perhaps one of those where it is better to lie to protect the child because they are too young to know the truth?