Dear Book Lovers,

I think some editors and publishers believe  they are being helpful to the kids when they give the kids all this info on adult subjects. They remember their childhoods and think they should have been told more. They don’t consider they perhaps were not ready for much of the material that they are now “letting the kids in on.” Nevertheless, the kids will try to make sense of this new info. I think they will often do it badly.

Let me expand a little. When my daughter was a pre-schooler, I told her that the mother of her playmate was going to have a baby. Then I jumped right in and explained that right now the mother was keeping the baby in a special place called the “womb”  and that the baby would stay there until it was ready to come out. (I can’t tell you how proud I felt that I was giving this little biology lesson and using the anatomically correct term.)

“Does the womb have handles?” my daughter asked.

“Well, no,” I said. “Why would it have handles?”

My daughter screwed up her face in frustration. “If the womb doesn’t have handles, how is the baby going to get out?”

Now it was my turn to be frustrated. Then the bulb went on. My daughter thought I was saying “room.”

I cleared that up for her. I also began to catch on that my daughter saw and understood the world very differently than adults did. I was so glad she asked her question.

But kids don’t always ask questions, letting us know that there are big gaps in their knowledge. Tweens and especially teens think they are already supposed to know. The result is  that information given to help becomes misinformation that confuses and maybe misleads.