What to Do When Your Little One Isn't Ready for the Truth

Most of try to be the kind of parent that welcomes our kids asking us questions. After all, if they aren’t asking us, they’ll ask someone else who might not answer them with Scripture or helpful words. So we try to be that “ask-away-kid” kind of parent. But even that can get tricky.

There comes these moments when our child asks a question, but we know they aren’t ready for the answer. We know developmentally the answer wouldn’t set right in their brain space or that this moment is not the time to delve into the answer or that maybe even they don’t have the attention span for the answer!

Yet that question still deserves truth. So how do we navigate those parenting moments?

I used to dread my slow-witted answers or bungling a response in an effort to be truthful and simultaneously age-appropriately helpful and then one day I had a wonderful epiphany about truth and answers for our kids. Truth is not a fact. Truth is a Person. Truth is our Lord! Truth is not just something we know, it’s someone we know!

Truth is a PERSON!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

So my little one might witness something while we are out running errands or in a conversation with extended family`that his mind isn’t ready to compute. And while I don’t love those moments (and at this stage in his life I try very hard to filter them out), I have come to rest in the assurance that he is coming to know the Lord who is Truth, so even if he isn’t ready to fully unpack this situation with all the layers involved, I can pray to Truth Himself to reveal, protect, and speak into my son’s heart.

I can lay all that worry about having just the right words at the feet of Truth who knows what my son needs to know and hear even better than I do. And that has been revolutionary for me!

It has also changed the way I disciple him at home. Much of our conversation about Scripture and God come back around to the person and character of God Himself (rather than just understanding or remembering the story points or learning an application). If my son knows the Lord personally, if he can trust His character, if he can discern His guidance because he has grown in the nurturing of His voice through Scripture, then regardless of whether or not I nail the answers to his questions just right, he will have heard and begun to know Truth for himself.

Truth is FREEDOM!

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

If we want our children to know freedom, then they need to know Truth! Scripture lets us parents in on a key to helping our children along in this matter - they need to be filled with the Bible! They can’t continue in Christ’s word if they never had it in the first place. It’s our joyful task to fill their days with God’s Word so that when they launch into this world, they have the tools to live in truth and freedom!

Truth is FULLNESS!

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

My heart grieves for the generation coming up that has been robbed of many foundational truths, now questioned or all together abandoned. I think back on how hard it was for me to grow up, to find myself in Christ amidst all the other places one could get lost, and how I needed every ounce of truth I could hold to make it out of childhood into adulthood.

And those foundational truths are not necessarily easy ones to unpack when you have a toddler or preschooler seeking answers. Perhaps it even gets harder as they grow to answer them! While we might try our best to answer our children well, it’s Truth that is needed. And not just the facts, but the Person.

This upcoming generation, perhaps more than any generation before it, needs a deeply personal relationship with Truth! Just as Scripture describes Jesus coming full of grace and truth, this generation needs that to the fullest! Every answer needs to be Jesus Himself, overflowing with that profoundly needed grace and truth.

Truth is FAITHFUL!

Even Jesus’ grown disciples had moments when they weren’t ready for the truth, and Jesus committed them to the personal relationship the Holy Spirit would have with them:

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:12-13

I know there have been moments in my walk with the Lord (and if you think back on yours, I’m sure you’ve shared similar moments) where I wasn’t able to receive the truth. I was too distracted with something that seemed so important, too proud, too loud with my own despairing or impatience, but my Father knew that moment was not the end of my story. And it is that way with our children too.

There will be moments when they can’t receive the truth. Maybe it will be because they are too little. Maybe their their pride or their pain is too loud, or maybe they are just plain too tired (there’s been a few times I thought I was explaining something to my little man in the backseat only to find him conked out in his carseat!).

Whatever the case, in those moments as a parent when you feel concern for your child’s capacity for the truth, rest in the knowledge that Truth is a Person and that wonderful Person will faithfully meet your precious child when the moment is right, to guide them into “all truth.”

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True. Revelation 19:11

Don’t you just love that our Lord is Faithful and True? Not just for you, but for your children too! Doesn’t it change your parenting for more joy and hope to commit your children to the Holy Spirit the same way Jesus committed His disciples to the continuing work of the Holy Spirit? It does mine!

One of those verses I cast myself and my loved ones onto with the most frequency is Philippians 1:6:

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Truth is not a mere list of facts. Truth is God Himself full of freedom, grace, and faithfulness for us and our children. As we all grow in knowing Truth and grow in our capacity for Him, we can rest on the faithfulness of our Lord to complete the good He has started in us and our precious family.

May the Lord enlarge the heart of your family to hold more and more Truth as you journey on with Him!


April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April here and here.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Studio Annika

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