One thing you can always count on when it comes to kids is their ability to ask more questions than you could possibly ever know the answer to, starting with “How did the stars get up in the sky?” to the ever-annoying repetition of one word – “Why?”
How do you deal with the constant barrage of unanswerable questions? Here are three simple tips:
1. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Ask for some time to think about it. Whether they’re toddlers or a little more grown up, they’ll respect you for being honest. You never know – they might even forget they asked the question in the first place.
2. Use resources close at hand: the library is a wonderful tool to look up the answers to many questions. The Internet is a valuable resource as well. If you take a moment to search for the answers together, you’ll find yourselves blessed in several ways. Not only will you both become just a little bit smarter, the process will give you and your child quality time together, and it will go towards your child’s required twenty-minutes of reading for the day.
3. Try turning the question around. Ask your child what he/she thinks. An added benefit will be finding insight into your child’s mind. It could be fascinating…or frightening.
4. Use your friends. Especially those who’ve been there before. You’d be surprised at how many different useful (and perhaps some not so useful) suggestions they have. Don’t ever feel pressured to follow their advice. Just as every person is different, every family dynamic is different as well.
5. Realize every child is unique, and they’ll react in their own way as they grow older. Someone who could once be easily led into the realms of imagination may later demand facts instead of guesses.
6. Above all, don’t ignore them. Children who stop asking questions lose the desire to learn, and no child should ever come to that point. No adult should come to that point either. If you don’t know the answer, relish in the chance to learn something new.
7. Lastly, don’t be afraid to pray about the tough questions. Guidance is only ever a prayer away.
Answering the unanswerable doesn’t have to be the panic-inducing ordeal we often picture.
When it comes to dealing with the word ‘why’, I’m sorry to say you’re talking to a woman who, when pestered, told her then four-year old daughter, “Because I said so!”
I’m afraid you’re on your own there.