When a small being makes a mistake or has challenging behavior, the first question asked is “Why did you do ____?” This question might be asked about taking a friend's toy, spilling milk or fighting with a sibling. Details vary, but the big beings always want to know: Why?
Now, stop and think for a moment how your small being must feel when hearing that question. She or he knows that they did something wrong and now they need to explain it to a big being who is disappointed, angry or frustrated. Personally, just the thought of being in the situation makes me heart pound! I would freeze like a deer in headlights or make up the answer I think is wanted, wouldn’t you?
And isn’t that what your small being frequently does?
Think back to the last time some asked you why you did something: Why did you cut your hair? Why did you buy that shirt? Why are you moving?
I have been asked this question a lot lately, as I am moving within Brooklyn. I'll probably only move a few blocks from where I am now, but almost everyone questions my decision. I find myself becoming defensive and feeling that my reason for moving is not good enough. One voice in my head very loudly starts commenting that I should stay put and declares I am making a terrible life choice. This voice comes from a place of curiosity and love.
I do not want to imagine how destructive my internal dialogue would be if the question was asked with the assumption that I was doing something wrong or bad.
Honestly, I don’t have a great reason – it is just time to move.
Think about this: If it is difficult for this professional behavior therapist with extensive communication skills to articulate her reasoning, then is it fair to expect small beings to always articulate theirs? (Tweet)
Let’s face it –- when small beings are being asked why, it is often right after a mistake was pointed out. Not only are they feeling bad about making the mistake, now they have to justify it. That is a tall order for a small being – too tall!
Especially given that they may not even know why.
Ideas into Action!
Revise your use of the question “WHY?” with small beings in your life.
Next time you are tempted to ask your small being why – don’t do it! Instead, talk to them about ways to do it differently and other options of how to behave in the situation!
Looking forward to how taking the question of why out will transform your relationship with small beings in your life!
Leave your feedback, experience and thoughts in the comment section below this post or email directly at DrMarcie@BehaviorAndBeyond.net with your behavior insights!
With a little help we can all grow. Keep checking in weekly for more parenting insights at Behavior and Beyond. For personal insights that I only share with my email list, please join my confidential email list below.