Has your kid ever asked you “why” so many times in a row that you thought your ears might bleed? I know mine has. We’ve definitely started noticing some new things at our house as of lately. Every word I say to D.O. (the little man) is usually answered with, “Why?” Oh my gosh… It can really start to grate on your nerves. And if you’re anything like me, then your initial thought is probably: “Because I said so!” Especially since, at my house, the “why” questions started right around the same time that we started hearing “NO!” constantly, and with so much attitude that you have to sit on your hands to keep from tackling him. Oh is that just me? Okay…
Well, anyway – since I am an adult and have to try and handle this maturely instead of tackling him to the floor – I’ve been thinking a lot about his question. Why? If you’re a parent, then I’m positive you’ve had this exact conversation… but just in case anybody reading this isn’t a parent, let me just give you an example.
ME: Dom, please don’t unplug the fan.
ME: Because you’ll get an owie.
ME: Because it could shock you.
ME: Because, honey – there’s electricity running through it.
ME: <Sigh..> Because the fan needs the electricity in order to blow air at us.
ME: <Pulling my hair out> Because Dom, that’s the way they’re made.
ME: Okay honey, this is the last one… Fans have to have electricity in order to work, but it can give you an owie, so I don’t want you touching the cord and unplugging it. Ok?
OMG. Just stop before I start crying.
This conversation might sound super cute to you… and if it does, then you probably haven’t had the same one 14 times today. Unless you have a toddler, then you most definitely have. Honestly, it takes every ounce of patience and adult maturity to get through these “WHY” moments with my precious, but oh so curious baby boy. It would be a lot easier for me to just tell him, “Because I said so” and move on with my day. So why do we take the time? Why do we answer question after question… after question?
Well, as I mentioned, I’ve thought a lot about this over the past couple weeks. As a parent, I’m constantly feeling this need to evaluate how we’re doing. Forever searching for the best way to teach my son. Am I teaching enough? Is he learning enough? Does he feel my love? Am I discipling enough? Am I discipling too much? Are we spending enough quality time? What techniques are working and which techniques do we need to tweak?
In this case, I felt the need for adjustment come when I heard Hubbalicious say, “Because I asked you to.” I had said it before… we both had. It’s easy to let those words just come out. You’re busy, you’re cleaning up, you’re making dinner… The last thing on your mind is explaining the intricacies of this world to your toddler. But when I heard it, as opposed to actually saying it, I realized I didn’t like it. In fact, that’s how Hubby and I do a lot of our evaluating. I’ll say something, or he’ll say something… and later that evening – we’ll bring it up and say, “You know, I feel like we need to handle this a different way.” And we’ll work together to come up with a plan of action. I mean, I think that’s what parenting is all about right? At least for us… it feels like it’s totally trial and error. What’s working? What isn’t?
From that moment forward, we agreed – we didn’t like “Because I said so.” It felt so… dismissive. I will say though, before I move on, that I think sometimes it does apply. Sometimes – kids need to learn that they should do something out of respect because their parents asked them to. In this case, I hope I would say, “Because, I asked you to do this and that’s the nice thing to do.”
So – let’s get to the meat of this post. Why do I take the time to tell him why? Here are my 5 reasons:
1. Because he’s SOAKING up information right now and he’s learning even though it feels like he’s just pestering me. I don’t want to be the reason he isn’t getting answers.
2. Because I want to teach him respect and one of the best ways I can do that, is by showing it to him.
3. Because one of these days, he’s going to stop asking why. And I think I’m going to miss it. I want to take every chance I can, to let him hear about the world from his mom’s point of view.
4. Because I want to open the lines of communication between us. I always want him to feel like he can talk to me, and that I’m interested in what he has to say. This starts with answering all his questions and not dismissing him because I’m busy.
5. Because he’s so stinking adorable, the tone in his voice makes my heart so happy. It felt icky to say, “Because I said so.”
We only have these few precious formative years to impart all of our wisdom and values to our children. I never want to look back on these beautiful and chaotic years and feel regret. So here’s to taking the time, and trying not to pull my hair out while my child incessantly asks me questions about this amazing world we live in. How about you? How many questions do you answer a day? Why?
Do you, like me, find that it takes all the patience you can muster – while at the same time, get the nagging sensation that this will all be over too soon? Why? :o)