Questionable Questions

Questionable Questions

Do you want to take a couple of minutes to read this blog?  The fact is that whether you want to or not, you are going to take a couple of minutes to read this blog.  That wasn’t truly an inquiry but rather an admonition to comply.

Unfortunately, this type of questioning is what is referred to as a “social construct.”  And children are not born knowing social constructs.  They have to be learned, and learning them can take quite a bit of time.  Consequently, when you ask your little one, “Do you want to take your nap now?” or “Do you want to put your jacket on?” she may very well interpret it as if you really are offering an option instead of issuing an instruction.  And when she decides to answer in the negative rather than the affirmative, a confusing and unpleasant power struggle may ensue.

So this may take some discipline on your part as we adults are well accustomed to the social construct and have no problem understanding exactly what we mean.  But the next time you want your child to do something, remember that calmly and clearly saying something like “It’s nap time” or “Put your jacket on now” is far more likely to result in compliance than giving her the impression that she actually has a choice.

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