Why? Mommy, why?

My two year old son has recently learned the word why and how to use it properly.  I use the word properly loosely, by the way.  It has gotten to the point that he will ask why every time I tell him to do something.  “Connor, don’t touch that”, “Why?”; “We cannot go outside right now, Connor”, “Why?”; “Time to go night night, little man”, “Why?”.  I believe this is one of the most annoying things a child can do.  Life would be so much easier if children just listened when we told them to do something.  However, we have no such luck.  So, here’s my dilemma.  How do you teach a two year old that it is ok to ask why, just not all the time?

I marvel at the curiosity of children.  Their little brains are always willing and open to accept new information and question everything.  The question why has never bothered me.  I welcome with open arms a child’s need to ask why things are the way they are and how things happen.  The issue arises with what context they use the question in.  I can easily tell my ten year old that it is ok to ask why just not when I am asking you to do something.  My boyfriend and I go rounds about this one.  When Connor asks why now, I just answer him hoping to teach him reason and keep his curious nature alive.  Robbie feels I should never answer him because he will never learn to just do what we say if we allow him to question.

I can see reason in both arguments.  So, what’s more important?  Do I risk jeopardizing the beautiful curiosity in order to have an obedient two year old?  I do not want to damage his imagination or quest for knowledge, but I do not want an unruly child either.  How do we teach our children that it’s okay to ask questions just not all the time.  Sometimes the dilemmas that come with parenthood truly give me a headache!!!

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4 thoughts on “Why? Mommy, why?

  1. Wow! I feel for you. The constant chatter and questions can make a body weary especially since you haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep or rest since you entered your ninth month of pregnancy (smile). But here is the deal…obedient and two year old is an oxymoron. Two year olds don’t obey, but they are not trying to be disobedient…they just exploring. They are curious about everything. They touch everything. Their mind is expanding with all the new things they are learning. Not surprising, they discover they have a voice and they want to engage in conversation, but their vocabulary is limited. But, asking why is the only way they learn. Try not to stifle this…instead learn ways to turn their attention elsewhere (if for no other reason than to give you a break).

    Children are a blessing, a wonder…wondering about everything around them.

    Love ya,
    Nonna

  2. I think at a certain age, 5 and older…that a child knows the difference and knows when to ask why and when not to. To me, at this age (5+) the child is testing you to see how far they can get. I wa raised strict…by my parents and my extremely southern grandparents and yes I take some of the traits they gave me and they reflect onto the midget. But I turned out just fine an my curiousity i still at an all time high. Which brings me to my next point…all children are different. If all children were the same then a book could teach you how to raise a child. but I do believe parenting should be based on 3 basic beliefs…respect, dedication, and understanding. I believe that you can have all three with dedication…understand that it takes dedication…and respect the child as they respect you.

    1. Wow! Wow! What a wonderful topic. This could and should spark great discussion(s). Hey Robbie, wonderful comments, I would, however, like to offer additonal insights just from years of watching children and parents—all races, backgrounds, scioeconomic status, religious differences, etc. You are so absolutely correct when you say chidren are different. They go through stages of development at different ages—walking, talking, learning to drink from a cup, etc. The “terrible two” might not come until age 3, or 4 or 10 or how about 40 (smile). I think it is rare that any of us turn out “just fine” because all of us move into adulthood carrying “baggage” from childhood–the beliefs and views of our parents. For some people that baggage becomes weights and for others launching platforms.

      Many people have tried to write books about raising children but one size does not fix all which of course is another way of saying not all kids are the same. I absolutely love young parents who are trying to do as you say “raise kids with respect, dedication and understanding. Bravo!

      I do leave you with one question. Where do children learn respect?

      Love ya,
      Nonna

  3. Respect can be a hard one to handle at times, in my opinion. In order for a child to learn respect they must see it. However, it’s hard for a child to feel respected by a parent who is trying to teach them right from wrong. I think too often, and I’m just as guilty as the next, that without thinking, parents end up talking down to their children. Frustration and angst take over. We constantly admonish our children saying “you need to respect your elders”, “be polite” and so on and so forth yet lose our patience and end up making our children feel as though they are not respected by us. We as parents need to heed our own advice, “Child, you must learn to have a little more patience.”

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