Honest Parenting: Answering the Tough Questions


Some Day, I will tell my kids about my past. As their parent, I am committed to doing this honestly.

Although my kids are convinced that I don’t understand anything about being a kid, they have started to become curious about my life before becoming a mom. The easy questions have started. Have I ever kissed anyone else? Who did I live with in college? These fun, simple questions allow me to share part of pre-kids life with them. I went skydiving for my 21st birthday, and the story won me some “cool” mom points.

Soon, the difficult questions will start. Did I ever try drugs? Why don’t I drink wine like other parents? Have I ever ridden in the back of a police car? When I was my kids’ ages, I was already engaging in risky behaviors to cope. It’s hard to imagine them doing some of the things that I did. They seem so little, but I felt so mature. I am so grateful they have an innocence about life that I didn’t have.

I’ve approached parenting committed to age-appropriate honesty. I’ve answered tough questions about sex, crime, and racism already. And honestly, they were easy to answer. The answers based on facts, science, and personal beliefs didn’t need to be rehearsed. More often than not, I’d answer the question asked, and my kiddo would return to whatever activity they were doing. These discussions happen in the car, over dinner, or even while getting our taxes done. They are quick and over before I know it. I don’t worry about them and know I will handle whatever comes my way.

But when I think about telling my kids about my adolescence, I break out in a cold sweat. What will then ask? Will they still respect me? Will they judge me? I’m committed to honesty. If I can tell them about my choices, maybe they can tell me about theirs.

So, when the questions come about my past, I will answer them honestly. Hopefully, I’ve raised compassionate, respectful children who won’t judge me too harshly.


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Abby is a mom to three boys, (ages 15, 10 and 8), who spends her time perfecting the art of identifying socks that have been worn for more than one day. Abby's journey to parenthood started with her marriage to Beth when Abby became a step-mom. From there, Abby and Beth adopted their other children. Abby works full time in a job that provides her the opportunity to travel to other states. Outside of work, Abby is passionate about foster-care reform, social justice and knitting.


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