Avoid Asking Why

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05 Dec 2013

kid hanging upside downChildren are often irrational, illogical and unreasonable. This is normal behavior for kids but tough for us parents. Developmentally, they are not rational beings and still have a lot of growing up to do.

Kids also cannot explain why they act the way they do. They don’t have the language to explain their behavior. So when we ask them “why” questions they often shut down. They have no rational answers to:

Why did you mush peanut butter on the table?
Why did you stick a bean up your nose?
Why are you wearing that?
Why do you always have to start whining right when I am sitting down to relax?

Not only that, but these questions serve to antagonize kids. They take them as accusations and they will defend themselves and start acting defiant. We should avoid asking them these type of questions and instead give them information on how to rectify and amend the situation:

Here is a rag to clean up the peanut butter. Peanut butter belongs on bread or a celery stick not the table.
Noses need to be kept clear of all objects, except tissues! We need to get to the doctor ASAP.
Those pants have a hole in them, they are good for playing outside, or when you are painting. They are not for school.
I need quiet right now. Can you use a regular voice to ask for what you want? Then I need you to wait a few minutes before I can go and get it. 

Kids do better and behave well when they hear what they can do and how they can make the situation better. Lets avoid the questions that sound like accusations and help them be the best they can be.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.