Today I was reading a blog and the author brought up an interesting point:
“I mean, how many times have you heard parents answering the child’s genuine question “Why?” with the words “just because” / “because! (with high pitch sound) / “because this is what it is” / “because this is how it works” and the most famous one: “Because I said so”.
How many parents do you know that actually take the time to explain the child the exact mechanics, relationships and the time lines involves within the child’s questions? How many parents actually considered the child’s ability to understand a point so specifically despite of their young age and lack of experience in life?
How many parents justified for themselves that there is no point in explaining the nitty gritty details to the child because the child would not be able to comprehend it anyway?”
From what I have observed, almost every parent does this. So the question is: WHY? And the answer is: Not simply BECAUSE. There’s actual explanations of WHY this is happening and it all starts with the parents.
Often times a child asks the parent questions about how the world works are within this they will repeatedly ask ‘why’ – this is not a question without purpose as the child is actually wanting to learn how their world and everything within it works. Sometimes the parent will answer the questions, sometimes the parent will work with the child to investigate the answers, and sometimes the parent will say, “Because.” The answer, “Because,” is the problem here. I have observed parents answering, “Because,” when: The parent is distracted, the parent is doing something that they do not want to stop doing, the parent is doing something that they can’t, for some reason, stop doing to answer a question, the parent literally does not hear the child and their automatic programmed response to the Word, ‘Why’ is with the Word, ‘Because’, or the parent does not know the answer and says, “Because! That’s why. That’s all you need to know.”
I say this problem begins with the parent as the parent of the child asking WHY was once the child asking WHY of their parents and they got the same BECAUSE answer. Another point to consider is that in Crisis Intervention training we were told specifically to not ask, “Why?” and to instead ask, “How come?” as a person’s immediate response to the Word WHY is ‘because’ and from here, the person shuts down and usually will stop communication. We were told that the reason for this is goes back to childhood to when and as the parent would ask the child, “WHY did you do this?” and as a child they did not have an answer, reason, nor the vocabulary to explain to the parent why they did what they did and aware that they were in trouble and that they had no choice but to say something so they answer with, “Because …”
So, has the Word BECAUSE has become an expression of: I don’t know the answer and I fear that? Do we become paranoid when we hear the Word WHY? What happens when we hear the Word WHY? We react because in our minds we have associated the Word WHY to past memories or experiences that may have been uncomfortable or even traumatic. We will dismiss the Word WHY, try to separate ourselves from the Word as quickly as possible, we become frustrated with the Word, and/or we will just not hear the Word WHY at all.
Instead of answering, “Because,” when a child asks, “Why?”, answer the question. When and as we aren’t certain about the answer, research for the answer with the child. The child will then associate the Word WHY will research, investigation, and finding answers for questions that aren’t yet defined or explainable. If we are busy or have our attention focused on something of importance at that moment, simply set a time for when the question can be researched and/or answered to the best of our ability. When making a decision of whether or not to stop what you’re doing to answer a question or not, suggest to see: We have a small amount of time within which to educate our children and an even smaller amount of time to assist a child with living expressions of Words. The time goes by quickly and when it’s done, it’s done – there’s no going back.
The child will be less-likely to react to the Word WHY in a way that is not best for them and instead they will come to live the Word WHY as a cool and fun expression of finding the answers. The child will be better equipped for assistance and support when and as they are on their own in the world as they will have the tools for self-support and not react to the trigger Word WHY from others who may be assisting them with points in their life. The parent in the child will establish an actual relationship of trust with themselves and each other as we give as we would like to be given and work together to find out how this world functions, why things work the way they do, and look at, discuss, and continue to ask questions about how we can improve upon what’s here.