By Brian Hobby
Do your offspring drive you batty with the “why?” question?
This was our approach with the boy of many, many, many, many questions……
As our boy got to the 3 to 4 year old inquisitive stage his thirst for knowledge sent him down the why,why,why,why,why path.
I think it is even worse than the “are we there yet?” question as that is confined to the car and was easily diverted with I spy at that age.
The nominal adults in the house were discussing the shift at length and my wife said “why don’t we try what my parents did to me?” I asked her to tell me more….
Well it turns out that it was no more than explaining to the lad that “why?” was not a valid question and that neither parent would be answering it from now on! If he wanted an answer then he needed to think about what it was that he “actually” wanted to know and ask exactly that. Starting with why was OK but there needed to be more words to follow it.
As with all things parenting, we both applied it consistently, when we got a why, we would go “that’s not a real question, what do you actually want to know?” In fairly short order we had interesting discussions on why the sky was blue, why there are so many different types of cars, what are clouds and where did the earth planet come from. The trick was to start with a simple explanation and see if that answered it, if not then get slightly more detailed and check again. Often once he knew the simple answer he was happy and went back to thinking up the next real question!
For us it worked a treat! Interestingly talking to his 1st year teacher at the parent teacher interview she commented that “your son asks such interesting and well thought out questions” we looked at each other, grinned, and told her why.
Payback is sweet, not long ago the lad was explaining something to us as we were traveling in the car and I asked why? He explained, I asked why again – to which he retorted, Dad “why isn’t a proper question” I think we taught him well!