“Every question your children ask is your opportunity to given them a lifelong gift which they can use it forever.” -Prabakaran Thirumalai

 

As a parent, you might be very familiar with the word “Why …?” from your child. The fact is children are naturally curious about how the world works, which means they will ask lots of questions.

Children may often ask questions for the same reasons when we ask something which is to get information about things they do not understand. At a young age, their brains are rapidly developing, and they will unconsciously try to connect the dots in their world which is always new and interesting.

There are also times when your child may not really want to know all the answers to their questions. However, here they want to let you know that your words are something they find interesting. When they ask, it indicates that they want to explore the topic and discuss it with you.

Sometimes, they even ask repeated questions every day. Some questions are easier to answer than others, and there is no right way to answer them. But maybe, sometimes you do not always have the answer. And listening to “why” over and over again makes you lost interest to answer. Still, as parents, you should respond to their questions well. This is a sign that children are developing.

So, how are you as a parent able to respond to every question that your child asks?

One strategy you can do from putting yourself in the position to answer the why question is to be the one who asks the why questions for them. For example, when your child asks why they need to brush their teeth, you can ask them again why they think brushing before bed is good.

This type of open questioning allows children to think critically as the basis of their learning. After listening to their answers, you can respond to their answers and tell them the answers.

If your child is a little older, you can ask them if they would like to find out the answer with you. Finding answers with children can make them more confident in their abilities.

There are times when you do not know the answer to a question your child has. This is a natural thing, and you can say you do not know. Admitting that you do not have all the answers all the time can show your child that the effort to answer the “why” question never ends.

However, you must still answer this question. You might say: “Good question! I am still thinking about the answer. We will discuss this further when I get the answer soon.” By doing this, children understand that not all questions are easy to answer, but they are still satisfied with your response and do not stop asking you.

Children have a strong and long memory. This means they are less likely to forget when their parents say they will discuss the question later or seek answers.

If you use this strategy, make sure you are ready to act on it. It means that when you delay answering, you are ready to discuss it later. Or when you say you are going to look for information with your child, be prepared to do that too.

However, it may be good to have some general guidelines for how you will handle the questions later. If not, you could have another question when you are too tired or busy to answer them.

For example, you could set a specific time for discussion after dinner. You can ask your child to help you to clean up after dinner and during this time, you can invite them to have a discussion.

If you have more than one child, the child with unanswered questions is the one who helps with cleaning. Another benefit of this technique is that children may see cleaning time as a time to share with their parents rather than chores.

Questions that you cannot answer because you do not know the answer need to be handled differently. After all, the problem is not just about your time or energy. It is also can be a lack of knowledge. Therefore, we must apply the right strategy for the more challenging questions of our children.

May 9, 2021

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