Stop! Don’t touch that! Yucky!
Picture this. As you are enjoying your coffee and catching up on your social media you glance over to see your 3-year old eating a dirty sock. “Don’t eat that sock, honey!” What is the first thing to come out of their mouth following that? “Why?” Now, we all know why we shouldn’t be chewing on dirty socks. However oddly enough, our children aren’t aware… of all the disgusting thoughts of contamination and need for possible shots, that may or may not be running screaming through our heads at that moment. They are just innocently enjoying the taste of their dirty sock. Right about this moment you may be tempted to react with a response of, “Because I said so” or “Just do what I ask.” Right?
“Why mom. Mom, mom. Mom. MOMMY. WHY?!” That word… why. “Why?” It’s sometimes a lot like fingernails being scratched across a chalkboard. The simple fact is, though, it has a whole new meaning when coming from a child, doesn’t it? It’s easy for us to just want to dismiss the question with a simple I told you so. Many of us are probably guilty of that response.
Should you allow your child to say why? Is it a sign of rebellion?
Kids are soaking up every moment in their lives like a little sponge. Every why that they give us is a learning experience for them. Think about why as if it were a lesson in their school book. That is exactly what it is to them. Every time that they ask the question of why they are expanding their decision-making skills and knowledge. Asking why means that your children are developing the ability to think for themselves. What sometimes may seem like an act of rebellion, may simply be your child determining right from wrong and how to make that determination.
As your children grow and mature they are going to face many challenges in life. This is just the building blocks of teaching your children how to think for themselves, how to ask the right questions, and how to react on good instincts.
We need to encourage our children to ask questions and give them the freedom to know it is okay, so they can develop the skills needed as a teenager and adult. The asking question helps develop their ability to rationalize and understand choices that they make and their consequences. If we don’t encourage those abilities as a child at home, they will not be prepared when faced with difficult decisions they need to make on their own.
Though it is annoying sometimes to be questioned over and over… and over again, it is important that we allow them to do so. Instead of getting upset about the disgusting dirty sock that is now inside of your child’s mouth, use it as a teachable moment. Explain why chewing that dirty sock isn’t the best thing for them. Now go have some fun chasing those babies, and don’t forget…it’s okay for them to ask why!