Children are very inquisitive by nature, especially when they are younger. Their main resource of course is their parents. I remember Madalyn when she was 4 and the drive home from daycare used to make me crazy. She would ask a question, I would answer, and then she would answer with a “why”. I would answer the why and she would ask it again and again. Eventually I ran out of answers and at times patience. I was taught that “because is not an answer”, however there were times that it seemed to be the easy way out.
As parents we need to remember that our children want to better understand the things around us, why we think something, and why they should feel the same way. Regardless of their age, it is important that they feel safe in communicating with us and on that same note it is also important that they understand where the boundaries are. What I am referring to is the house rules. There are plenty of situations where questioning is acceptable but when it comes to the house rules they should understand that there is no room for questioning.
Younger children typically don’t comprehend a long drawn out explanation of why it’s important to follow the rules. We love our children and they love us, they strive to make us proud and happy. So when young children ask “Why?” they can’t do a particular thing we should at least explain to them that it is the rules. If we simply say, “because I said so” it could only add to their frustration and confusion.
Older children, on the other hand, will require more from your explanation. I remember asking my mom why I had to be home by 11pm on Friday night. She would say, “nothing good happens after 11pm.” Now that I am older and wiser I think that she was right. It seemed I was always getting into trouble. Plus there are curfews that are set by law as well. When dealing with the “whys” your children should know the consequences for disobeying, you should be firm, consistent, and clear.
It is inevitable that our children will challenge the rules from time to time. As they get older it may happen more often, this is a reflection of their growth as an individual. We need to try and understand where they are coming from and the stage of life they are in. We were all there once, however for some it was a long time ago.