Tuesday, October 02, 2007

WFMW - Backwards Day!

I'm recycling a post from last week because I really want more feedback on the question. Hope those of you who have read it before don't mind! :)

Jonathan, please come here.
Why?
Because we need to get you dressed.
Why?
Because we're going for a walk.
Why?
Because I thought you'd like to go for a walk.
Why?
I have no idea. Never mind.

A few minutes later:
I thought we were going for a walk?
We were, but you didn't want to put your clothes on.
Why?

I'm doing my best to stay patient, but this really is rather taxing. Because this is not an isolated incident - this is my life right now. All day. If he is awake, he is asking me "why?"

Some of the questions are legitimate and have real answers. Some are silly. Some are stalling tactics. Sometimes I think it is just his default word when he can't think of anything to say but must say something anyway.

Does anyone have good ideas for coping with this?


And since I'm sure all my readers are just bursting with good information regarding any number of things, please go visit Shannon and help her readers out!

13 comments:

Sarah Marie said...

Do you ever tell him, "Silly Jonathan, that's a really silly question and I'm not going to answer it for you because I think you know the answer!" (For example, I doubt he really is wondering why you thought he might like to go for a walk...) And let him know that when he asks *good questions* about life and the world around him, you're eager to answer him?

He may just ask "why?" out of habit and not really think about what he's asking. You can start showing him when his questions are good ones and when they're ridiculous.

But what do I know? I don't have kids. :) I've just logged about a million hours of babysitting!

Kelly said...

My daughters have yet to go through the 'why' stage. I feel very lucky (although it might hit still).

He could just be trying to stimulate conversation and not konw what to say. Lucy did that, but she would just say my name over and over and over again without any followup. I finally learned when she does that it is because she just wants me to talk to her...about anything.

Maybe you could try that the next time her starts asking question. Just talk to him...and be patient. It's hard. I know.

Carrie J said...

Why do children ask why? Here is a Dr's answer:
http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&action=detail&ref=564
Sorry, I don't know how to make it clickable.
I found with my son he really did just want to talk. It was an outward expression of what was going on in his head. He was asking himself this question in his head and just said it outloud.
I don't know if that makes sense.

Anyway, I started asking him "Why do you think...." when his question was obvious. At first he would just say "I don't know" but if I kept asking him leading questions he would come to an answer. He eventually could give me an answer when I asked. Hang in there. That little mind is developing quickly and this stage will pass.

Karen said...

My husband and I don't answer "why" questions, as a general rule, when we've given a command ("Get your shoes on" or "wash your hands" etc). After the child has obeyed we might answer questions, depending on the situation.

If it isn't about a command but instead curiousity ("why is the sky blue?" or "why do we shop at this grocery store?") we sometimes ask "Why do you think" or sometimes we go look up answers or talk about the question. A lot of times our oldest child (our question asker) is just wanting some "mommy time" when she has my full attention.

Great question - I'm looking forward to reading the other answers!

Milehimama said...

I answer back,
Why not?

Lady Why said...

I would say my advice depends on the age of the child. Two year olds are just going to ask 'why' and there is nothing else to do but just answer them and try to keep your sanity.

If they are older, I avoid allowing them to stall or just be annoying by having them say, "Yes, I'd be happy to." to whatever I've asked them to do. They are required to do what they are told and that's that. They are allowed to question something but only after they have obeyed - and obeyed happily. Then if they have a legitimate question, I'm happy to answer it.

Hope that helps!

TracyMichele said...

My daughter has started with the "Why NOT?" question. Maybe we could get our two together and just let them go at it all day. LOL.

In our house we answer the "Why" question with, "OK Mamma" or "OK Daddy". After a couple times, they will repeat the "OK" and simply do as they had been asked. When things settle down we explain there are times when we just need to obey.. no questions asked.

They are allowed to be curious and if we are asking them to do something out of the ordinary, we try to explain it first to avoid being hit with the "why". Children are human and I believe they need to be treated that way. We are all curious by nature. So by explaining things first, it eliminates the unnecessary questions.

Good luck!

Rachel said...

Turn it around: "Why do YOU think?"

Cindee said...

Turn the question back around to him BEFORE he gets a chance to ask it. "Time to get your shoes on. Now tell me why." Sometimes anticipating the question helps to stop it.

cmhl said...

I have two, 6 & 9, and the whys drive me crazy too.

my answer--

"why do YOU think?"

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

How to handle this has SO much to do with the child's personality, I'm not sure if I can offer much help. If you think it's a stubbornness thing, I would say it's all about finding out what motivates them. Some of the other comments have addressed cognitive development and obedience issues, so I guess I'd just say try to figure out what might be at the root of it. I did have to place limits on the questions I would answer w/ my oldest b/c I just couldn't take it. My youngest isn't quite there yet. Or else, he's just not as inquisitive.

mummymac said...

Ok I've gong through this with 3 and I think the best thing to reinforce and keep repeating is

"Because mummy says so"

Then they get the idea that they are supposed to obey what mummy says!

Hope this helps

Reformed Grits said...

Ok, this may be silly but with our oldest at that age we reversed it one time on him and "Why"'d him to pieces. Eventually, he replied, "Because I do." Funny but it was to something like, "Why are you going to the store?" It just didn't fit.
So the next time he started in with, "Why?" I played along for a minute then when I was "done" I said, "Because I do."
We never had another problem with it.
He's 12 now, and if he gets a tad sassy with us and asks, "Why?" we just reply... "Because I do!" :-)