A parent is standing in the aisle at a local Bakersfield Target store and her child is asking "Why, Mommy?" The parent gets a perturbed look on her face, "…Because," she replies to the child. "But why, Mommy" her daughter asks again. Mother replies, displaying obvious irritation, "Golly Megan, stop asking so many questions," and marches on down the aisle with her child following briskly behind her. One of these two individuals was doing what was expected of her, and the other was not. Want to guess?
Becoming frustrated with your child for asking why is like the grocery store people becoming agitated when you come into their store. Becoming irritated with your child for asking why is like the owners of the local ice cream store becoming annoyed when you enter their establishment and order ice cream.
I have a three-year-old granddaughter. She is a sponge for information. Thus, one of her favorite words is WHY. It is something that she has to do, a prerequisite for the gaining of knowledge that she deserves. How many times have you as a parent sat down with your child and spontaneously explained something to her? How often have you sat with your child and discussed how different cultures live, why we have different religions, how something can be considered right by one group yet wrong by another. How many parents have told their child "…the ice cream you are eating, partly came from a cow." How frequently do parents show their child how to play a guitar, wash the dishes and discuss why we bake cookies using a certain method? Perhaps because we do not do those interactions as much as we should, our children have to ask why
Asking why is every child's birthright. Asking why is one possible method a child has to gain accurate knowledge about the world in which she lives. Asking why is how a child can gain a sense of importance about herself as she receives attention back from her parent, as a result of her question. When parents respond accurately to a child, which is when a parent has a distinct understanding of what the child is doing and why, the child LEARNS. This is something everyone should want their child to do, yet frequently we do not seem to be putting in the effort, often because we are just too busy with our own harried life. Yet as we become attuned to our child, being aware that she is requiring accurate information from those she counts on, we can view her questions as a serious business, certainly just as serious as ours. Looking at it that way, the why questions are a solemn matter. Your little girl is trying to grow up, and she must be encouraged. Your response one way or another will influence just how many more why questions she has for you.
Asking why by your child is like those stacking cups our children have all used. They need to have the bigger one on the bottom to support the next smaller one on top. That is how the "why" questions work, an answer to your child helps her build up her knowledge in a successive and solid manner. Information is power and by instilling your approval in your child's asking why so often encourages your child to explore, to question, to consider, to "see" things that are going on in her world, to learn. Through your patience and timely responses to her why, your child will learn with leaps and bounds. School for her will be an adventure. She will enjoy learning, having been encouraged by you from the very beginning to ponder, think, engage, and process.
My three-year-old granddaughter is a treasure, and I feel lucky to have her ask why so often. It is certainly a challenge to come up with good responses for her. I feel as if I am feeding her, feeding her with knowledge, serving her up with information that will allow her to make sense of her world, empower her to develop a mastery over her world. Accomplishments can come at any age, three, thirty, or ninety. You are the introduction of those accomplishments as you provide accurate information to your child. Your child's "why" questions are like links on a chain connecting her thoughts, ideas, and information about her life. Like a sponge soaking up water, your child granddaughter, is attempting to grow, learn, understand her world. You are her best source of "Because." Your answer beginning with because allows her to connect the dots and bring a picture of life into focus, like those stacking blocks, bringing your child ever closer to understanding her world. Think about it, you can do it. Why not?