We will all be there, or we have been there.
Maybe you are like me and you are right smack dab in the middle of it.
“But why, mommy?”
A question we are accustomed to ask in order to receive an explanation for something we don’t understand. It is a simple, one-word request that actually has the power to open up a grand conversation. I know all too well how mundane the task can get, when your toddler has questioned your words and actions, yet again. Sometimes I do not know how to respond. Sometimes I must think really hard about what I am going to say in response to their little inquiry.
But something that I always do? Answer the “why” questions.
Providing our curious children with an answer to a concern that they are having helps them connect the dots. It allows us time to sneak in our family values and beliefs when they are all ears (or so we think!). This moment helps us teach them lessons and qualities that we may have a hard time explaining to them otherwise. The “why’s” in our own life prove to be an area in which we almost always demand an answer to, or we search diligently to find out. Why would we want to deprive our children of the opportunity to seek and find their own answers to what they’re looking for?
But trust me, I understand how daunting the task can be. Here is a scenario you may be familiar with: we’re getting in the car, running late, we have a dozen stops to make, and we’re nearing lunch. It’s seatbelt time…
“But why, mommy? I don’t like it.”
[insert here an opportunity to teach car seat safety, the law, etc.]
“Why is it windy?”
[insert an opportunity to talk about the weather, seasons, etc.]
“Why do we have to go?”
[insert the opportunity to discuss daily plans and priorities, keep them engaged, etc.]
The dreaded “why” is annoying. Yeah, I said it. There is simply no doubt that it is annoying. But… it is powerful. It is an invigorating moment in which we have the chance to keep their little minds working. It is our chance to be the parent and help them make sense of the world.
The key to the dreaded (yet sacred) “why?” stage… just answer them!