What to Do About Why

What to Do About Why

I love the one about the father and son out for a walk.  The little boy asks, “Daddy, why is the sky blue?”  The father responds, “I don’t know.”  The little boy asks, “Daddy, how do fish breathe underwater?”  The father responds, “I don’t know.”  The little boy asks,“Daddy, where does the sun go at night?”  The father responds, “I don’t know.”  The little boy asks, “Daddy, do you mind me asking you all these questions?”  The father responds, “Of course not!  How are you supposed to learn anything if you don’t ask questions!”

It is easy to get frustrated and annoyed when your child enters that phase of continually asking why.  But it is important to keep in mind that he is not being intentionally bothersome.  When you are little, the world can seem rather overwhelming, so constantly asking for explanations is simply a way of seeking comfort.

Consequently, it is critical for mothers and fathers to keep their composure.  Answer the child’s questions calmly, keep the explanations simple, and don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something.  And if the child seems upset that you don’t know, suggest that you search for the answer together.  His dismay that you are not omniscient will quickly be replaced by the delight in your willingness to be an enthusiastic partner in the quest for enlightenment.

Also, it is easy to be patient if you keep in mind that it won’t be long before your child is a teenager telling you about all the wild and crazy things he is doing, and you will be the one constantly asking, “Why???!!!