October 24, 2018
Kids are curious, this we know. And in their pursuit of knowledge, their vast desire to learn everything they can often presents itself through one simple question: “Why?”
But any mom knows that when that simple question is abused, things can turn ugly. Too often it becomes an attention seeking ploy or, worse, a procrastination tool used repeatedly by your hyperactive honey. It’s textbook stuff, yet somehow this trigger word can poke and prod at us until our patience meter has run out and an explosion is inevitable.
This scenario is so common amongst parents it’s actually trending on Reddit. But, one user by the screen name u/Originalstickers is coming to the rescue with some highly effective responses to help you take control of the conversation and hopefully nip that pesky habit in the butt. Here's her take:
First off, she brilliantly makes these frustrating moments a little more laughable.
“You want to just tell them to shut their adorable little muffin hole and move on with the day instead of breaking down every single word of your statements. You want to yell and scream and have your own tantrum because dagnabit, its 7:20 am and you weren't expecting to have to break down the rules of society and explain services and exchanges to someone that won't even understand half of what you're saying,”she writes.
Then she blesses us with her fool-proof strategy which has been proven successful based off of her own 3-year-old.
“I have (very recently) set down a rule with my 3 yo that we will only answer complete questions," she states. "I feel less like a hostage to my child's questions, and more like I am actually answering real inquiries. I've noticed sometimes the questions stop because THEY'RE tired of asking. My brain is much less likely to fall into being angry or tired. Finally, due to work from my amazing spouse who was stuck with them all day during a sick day, there is a change in the way my child is now speaking.”
This Reddit Mom is even kind enough to break it down with some “anecdotal evidence:”
"Why?" they ask.
"Why what?" you reply.
“Why do I go to school?” they ask.
“School is important for your growth,” you answer.
Child thinks long and hard about how to turn this into a question.
After opening her strategy up for comments, she came back with some very insightful edits:
“[The] top idea has been "why do you think?" phrased back to the child. It encourages creativity and problem solving on part of the child, as well as allows them an opportunity to show off what they already know.”
She also suggests that if your kid is trying to stall, teach them to verbally agree to do the task, make sure they do it, and then your child is still curious they can ask.
"Put on your shoes, please," you say.
"Why?" they ask.
"You say 'yes mommy / yes daddy / okie dokie' when I ask you to help me and then you can ask your question," you say.
Child begins putting on their shoes.
"Why?" they ask.
"Why what?" you answer.
"Why do I have to put on my shoes?" they ask.
A. Answer them.
B. Flip it back on them and ask why they think they should wear shoes.
Try it yourself and let us know. Hopefully, it will save you a lot of time and energy that we know you don’t have in the first place. And thank you to u/Originalstickers for the random lesson in outsmarting our kids!