Next up is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s "honesty is the best policy" approach, as they claim to tell their kids everything. "We have a policy in our family, no secrets," Pitt said. "I mean, there's an age of understanding, so you've got to present it in a way that is age-appropriate, but we know our children very well [...] We want everything to be on the table and, any questions they have, for them to ask."
The most crucial thing Brangelina shared with their kids when they were younger was Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery a few months later. The actress announced it to the world in an op-ed for The New York Times. "We often speak of 'Mommy's mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me," she wrote. "I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer."
So, it's understandable that the couple would need to tell their kids about the role cancer plays in Jolie's life. But most parents don't need to rush to have similar conversations with their kids about all of the issues they could potentially face as adults. Childhood is so short, and there doesn’t need to be a rush to end it early, especially if your family isn't struggling or facing a specific health concern like cancer. If your family is, though, the American Cancer Society says, "The guiding principle should be to tell the truth in a way that children are able to understand and prepare themselves for the changes that will happen in the family."