How to Stop Your Child Asking Why
Family Life Motherhood

When Your Child Asks Why?

When Your Child Asks Why, All the Time

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re going through the questioning stage, the one where your child asks a question and no matter what you answer, they ask why! It’s probably driving you a little crazy! The why. Why, why, why? The one word which seems to be on repeat anytime you’re with your pre-schooler. They ask a question, you respond and they ask why? You tell them why and they ask why to the why. You provide a new answer to the new question and they ask why to the why to the why! It seems that it’s never ending. Even when you try to think of a clever answer to end the why’s, they still ask you why! At this stage in parenting, you’re losing your patience and feel as though you’re growing a new grey hair daily.

How to Stop Your Child Asking Why #parenting #parentingtips #children #why #childaskingwhy #motherhood

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The Daily Why

I went through this with my daughter when she was around 3 years old. We tried distraction methods by bringing in new topics of conversation. Sometimes we would try outsmarting her with a question that we thought would end the why’s. We’d even ask of her opinion to the question she had asked to throw something new into the mix. Nothing seemed to work. It was a pretty exhausting time, especially when you try to answer all of these questions, (she was learning after all), soon to realise you just don’t have the answers to most of them!

Eventually you respond something along the lines of I don’t know or something like it just is to which they respond why and you could go on and on about why you didn’t pay enough attention at school but quite frankly, no one has the time to go into that and you don’t want to fill your child’s mind with reasons not concentrate at school.

As time went on I tried to keep my enthusiasm while answering these questions. Eventually I started to understand the reasoning behind it and was able to stop the why.

Why kids ask Why

The key to stopping the why in it’s tracks, is an explanation. A study from the University of Michigan states that’s what it all comes down to. A child asks why because they don’t know how to engage with us at a level that will provide the detailed response they’re after. They may ask us why but what they’re really asking is why, how, who, what, where all at the same time.

Your child might ask, Why do you have to go to work all the time?” They don’t just want to know that you work to make money. It’s unlikely that they understand the depth of even needing money. A child asks why because they don’t fully understand your response.

They want to know that we work to make money. That we receive money by going to work. That we use our money to pay for our home because it’s not free. That when we go food shopping we have to pay for the food we buy. We buy our clothes with the money we make. That the nice bike they received on their birthday, was paid with money. That when we go to fun places or trips abroad, we use money to pay for them. That there are lots of different things we can do for work, like being a dentist a chef or a teacher.

This type of conversation opens up their imagination. They find out the answer to the question they have asked. They’ve understood the need to work and even the types of jobs that people have giving them something further to think about. You might go on to ask what type of job they would like to have when they’re older or provide examples of the different jobs that family members have.

Remember, they don’t yet understand the world the way we do. Have a conversation about their question rather than just answer the question and you’ll be amazed at where these conversations will lead you.

Do This When Your Child Asks Why

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy The Importance of a Child’s Wishes.

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16 Comments

  1. I love this post! I think the more you explain to your kids the more understanding and empathic they become.

  2. Ah love this! It makes so much sense that a lot of a child’s questioning is expressed as simply ‘why’. My son is going through this now – lots of questions. We’ve even had “what is why”. Lol!

  3. We’re just past the “why” stage with my oldest, and soon will be entering the “why” stage with my youngest. Im so glad I saw this post, as I almost forgot… haha! It’s nice to finally know why a child asks why and that it’s because they don’t know how to engage with us “at a level that will provide the detailed response they’re after.” I never looked at it like that. Brilliant. And thanks for the reminder.

  4. Christa says:

    My 4 year old has been in the “Why?!” stage for a few months. It adorable and frustrating. Lol.

  5. I believe it’s important to teach your children to be inquisitive and ask questions. Though the why stage can be tiresome it can also allow you and your child time to bond and learn together. Broaden their little minds and also allow them to learn to communicate.

  6. This is great information. I have a lot of friends who have children that are in this stage. Now knowing this, it will help me to have more of an engaging conversation with the why questions.

  7. The idea of discussing the question more certainly does make a lot of sense. I think there is a time where all children go through the ‘why’ stage and all adults can feel quite frustrated with this as it can at times feel never-ending. This post rang so true in many ways and offers some relief for parents in that situation for sure.

  8. Interesting post. My grandson is in this stage. I swear he even asks why when he knows the answer.

  9. I love this! My niece went through this stage and I can see why it could grate on a parent’s nerves after a while. We weren’t around her all the time, but it felt like it was neverending when we were. I love how you explain a way to respond in a positive, constructive way that will help them to continue to grow and learn. After all, that’s what they’re trying to do, right?

  10. I love this post, it’s such good advice! I actually remember being about 3 or 4 and pestering my mom with a neverending thread of ‘Why’s’ in our back yard, until she finally snapped and said ‘It just is, stop it.’ At the time I didn’t understand why she got angry, but looking back it must’ve been so annoying to her. This post makes a lot of sense though and I like your example with going to work.

  11. Very interesting an educational! I was always fascinated by kids hyper curiosity age

  12. Subhashish Roy says:

    I have done quite a few learning session with kids dealing mostly with their dreams and goals. What I have found is that while there are many who do not have any questions and do not want to express much either, there are some who always have questions and try to inquire. In my opinion those who ask the ‘Why’ more are more focused on learning.

  13. Melanie williams says:

    Oh yes the why word it is good that kids do question but the why word can be the most annoying thing ever xx

  14. Right now my friends’ two-year-old is in the “what is that?” phase. He isn’t into the “why?” phase yet, but he is naturally curious and likes to solve problems on his own, when he can’t he asks for help. I’m actually really excited for when he starts asking questions.

  15. I was raised by a narcissist, so I don’t have a nurturing bone in my body, and that’s why I don’t have kids. Reading this, my first thought was that I remember friends going through it and I don’t know how they managed, because the whys really didn’t end. But this makes perfect sense to me, to actually turn it into a conversation. Not just answer it and move on when the little one clearly doesn’t get it. I can see where we are busy and just answer a question and keep moving, but forget kids get stuck when they don’t quite get it. Even with not having kids, I’ve certainly learned something and I’ll be using it the next time I see my nephew when/if he asks why.

  16. I admit I have been soooo sick of hearing my kids ask WHY WHY WHY! I find my daughter especially will ask “Why” even to something she knows the answer to. And it really is a way for her to just start a conversation with me and gain my attention. So I am trying to be patient and meet her need behind the question, instead of just getting frustrated. Also I shared this to my blog facebook page as I think my readers would enjoy it too!

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