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Curiosity may be defined as a strong desire to know or learn something. You can see the word “strong” there as an attribute of this desire, so trying to stifle the curiosity of children is like trying to quench a strong desire. We know it doesn’t always go well.

It is very common to hear children ask questions about sex, death, child birth, etc., with a lot of them either funny or embarrassing.

But as uncomfortable as these questions may make a parent feel, stifling the curiosity of children isn’t the way to go.

As a lesson, read this story.

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David and his wife have two children: 8-year Paul and 6-year old Richard.

Paul was particularly very curious; he asked questions about everything he saw and expressed his desire to do most things he saw people around him doing too.

Very often in the morning, Paul would take his daddy’s car key downstairs, unlock the door, turn on the ignition and have the engine running while waiting for his father to come downstairs with his younger brother, Richard.

He never ventured into doing more, but he was always curious what would happen if he did more.

“Daddy, what if I drive the car?” Paul asked his daddy one day as they were on the way to school.

“Ojuju will beat you,” David replied.

“It’s a lie, Daddy; Ojuju does not use to beat big children like me.”

David laughed.

David came home one evening to see his neighbours gathered in the compound. Paul and Richard had taken the key to David’s second car and gone downstairs to drive it. Paul assigned Richard to stand behind the car to ensure no adult was around to see them. Richard was carrying out this task when Paul started the car, changed gears as he often saw his father and mother do.

Unfortunately, he set the gear to reverse and with his right foot fully balanced on the accelerator, the car hit Richard.

He died on the spot.

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Paul was curious, but rather than tell him the implication of his curiosity, David tried to stifle it instead. It backfired.

David could have explained to Paul the dangers of trying to drive a car at that age, and should have followed it up by blocking Paul’s access to the car keys.

Stifling the curiosity of children will not stop them from being curious; it will only make them try to find other means of satisfying their curiosity, and we know how dangerous that can be.

Of course some children will remain stubborn even after being told things they are curious about, but then the blame for whatever happens afterwards cannot go the parents. They have done their job.

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