One of the things about being a parent is; you get asked A LOT of questions. Everything from ‘why is the sky blue?’, to ‘why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?’, to ‘why do I have to wear underpants”. And some of these questions aren’t even from our kids, they are from our significant other. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the constant questioning does my head in.
The thing is, I do love that my children are inquisitive, and some of the questions they ask are really quite interesting and I am so thankful for Google. In my day, my mum would send me to the encyclopedia set on the shelf and I’d have to look it up myself, or just live with the fact that I’m not going to have an answer after many days or even weeks of pondering it.
These days, we can pretty much google anything and get the answer instantly. The questions that are actually inquisitive and a learning opportunity, I do not mind whatsoever and I quite enjoy learning alongside them. Kids ask some really great questions and I think I have learnt more from their inquisitive minds than I did myself at school.
However, the questions that drive me nuts are always ones they really know the answer to;
Clean up your room – “WHY?”
Go to bed – “WHY?”
Don’t put your wet clothes on top of those dry clothes “WHY?”
And you know your response isn’t going to be a one-off either. You could make these statements “go to bed” and get “WHY?” every night for years. It’s no wonder “because I said so!” screams out eventually.
My darling husband the other day was cooking from a recipe. He had it right in front of him, but asked me from the other room what the next step was?! Or he’ll ask me “what I am cooking?”, even though it’s written on the meal planner (we prepared together the night before) right next to him.
My wonderful children will ask me what I am doing, even when they can see clearly what I am doing; i.e. sitting on the toilet.
My next favorite though, is when they ask a question, you give the answer, and then they ask you again.
So, you give the answer in another way, and then they ask you the question again, so you give the answer in another way… and then they ask you again. Sometimes you just shake your head and look back at their years on the earth and worry; did you have too much Panadol when you were pregnant or give them too much when they were teething? Or you second guess yourself and conclude that you really aren’t a good parent if you can’t answer your child in a way they understand.
The ultimate questions that make a parent’s hearts stop or drop are the ones they ask perfect strangers. “Are you a pirate cause you have a patch on?”, “Did you fart- what’s that smell?”, “are you dying?”, “What happened to your hair?”, “Are you Santa Claus?”, “are you drinking because you’re an alcoholic?”
These questions are enough to tip any parent over the edge!
In the end, our children are going to question us just as much as we question ourselves. Questioning is a huge part of their learning, and even though it drives us nuts, there is nothing that can help you understand your beliefs and knowledge more than trying to explain them to a child with an inquisitive mind. Millions saw the apple fall from the tree, but Newton asked WHY? So as much as it drives us absolutely insane sometimes, take a breath, and ask “why do you think?”. This buys us a little time and encourages them to keep on searching and being inquisitive, or just walk away and clean their teeth like you asked them to.
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