Do You Know Why Your Child Keeps Asking 'Why'?
Having an active preschooler at home can be a challenge. Especially if your little tyke is constantly questioning you about everything and anything, under the sun! This is why she always asks 'why'.
By Sindhu Sivalingam
Listening to your baby’s babbles is a joy that cannot be described in words. And once those gurgles become distinguishable words, the endless questions begin. No sooner do you finish answering one, your child is ready with another. And you’ll need to answer them all — there is no other way out. Yes, it can get tiring. So, how do you handle it? Do all children ask such questions? Let’s find out.
During a recent train journey, I witnessed a conversation between a young boy and his father. The boy looked charming with big brown eyes. He kept his father engaged with his seemingly endless list of questions, some of which were 'Will the trees come along with the train?', 'Why does the big uncle have a big tummy? Is there a baby inside?', 'Will the moon come along with us to every station?', and 'Does the moon take leave, like I do from school? Is that why I don’t see it every day?'
Although his father appeared tired with this barrage of questions, never once did he ask his son to stop.
While I was enjoying this interaction, my co-passenger, a middle-aged woman, was clearly not doing so. In an irritated but hushed voice she told me, "Look at the boy and his questions. Why can't he give it a break?" She also went on to advise the boy’s father: "He is a child and that’s how he will behave. But, why do you have to give in to him? Just order him to stop and he’ll mind his own business." In response, the father just smiled at the woman.
Quite a few of us are unwilling to answer our child’s questions. We often feel frustrated by this habit too.
The inquisitive mind
A child should never be punished for asking questions, as it is an important part of her cognitive development. When a child feels there is a gap in her knowledge, she asks questions. Besides, a child nurtures her curiosity by asking questions. Also, it helps her develop language skills and vocabulary. Moreover, several amazing inventions have resulted from such curiosity.
The questions a child comes up with vary in nature. Sometimes, they are intelligent and challenging, while at other times, they can puzzle and can leave you wondering how to answer them. Research as shown that the questions a child asks is closely linked to his mother’s intelligence and has nothing do with the father.
Children who ask such questions are keen observers. So, if your child also asks similar questions, answer them with empathy.
Such questions evoke laughter and you can answer them without much thought.
What should a parent do
Be patient when it comes to addressing your child’s queries. He will believe in you if you respond with interest to his questions. Remember, children can forgive parents who say, “Sorry, I don’t know the answer.” However, they have a hard time forgiving a parent who ignores their questions or gives a wrong answer. So, it’s best to support your child as he explores his world and tries to understand it.
It is natural for a child to ask questions about anything and everything. She uses her inherent curiosity to try and understand the world around her. The more questions she asks, the better she is able to learn, make connections between cause and effect, and explore how things work. Therefore, it is your responsibility to answer her questions as much as you can. Some children may ask more advanced questions than other children. This is nothing to worry about. In fact, it suggests that your child’s thinking skills are as advanced as his questions. If you pay enough attention to your child’s questions, she will continue to be curious and develop her confidence. So, while your child’s million questions can drive you up the wall at times, do be patient and answer most, if not all, of her questions. — Arundhati Swamy *
In short, a child who constantly asks questions will grow into an individual with strong cognitive abilities. So, answer your child’s questions. If you don’t answer, your child might end up asking someone else who may misdirect him. And you wouldn't want to happen. So, nurture your child’s thinking skills and help him grow into a confident adult.
Arundhati Swamy is a Counsellor and Head of Parent Engagement Programmes, ParentCircle
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