Why is ‘why?’ sometimes ok and other times not?

why. mumof2


We’re having the ‘why?’ moments in our house. We’ve had the ‘why’ moments for a very long time and I have noticed over time that the tone of the ‘Why?’ has changed. It used to be the little ‘why?’ as the only word to show their inquisitiveness. In fact one day, I decided to accept the ‘Why?’ challenge and managed to answer 24 why related questions in a row.

It started out for instance ‘Why is the sky blue? to which I answered ‘because the sun shines on the blue sea and so the sky is a reflection of the sea’ (or something along those lines)  and the next question was ‘Why?’ to which I responded with ‘well the sky is made up of air and lots of little spots that are like dust and so it acts like a mirror’ (or something along those lines). The next question wasn’t a straight why but ‘why is there dust in the sky?’ and so I answered about pollution and bits of air and other things and so the conversation went on. We ended up going round the houses and I thought I was doing pretty well at around the 15th why mark (whilst driving I might add!)

By the time we got to number 20 why I started to feel like this was the Spanish inquisition and by the 24th one it was absolute torture and I gave up the challenge by answering with the traditional ‘Just because that is how it is ‘ which is a complete cop-out, but I needed to reserve the remaining mental energy for the rest of the drive home, dinner, bath and bedtime.

I kind of feel like those kind of why’s deserve the answers to help keep the enthusiasm of finding out and learning.  The more recent tone of the ‘Why?’ has recently changed to one of questioning every instruction I give ,with the added whine to it. I may say ‘Please get your shoes on it’s time for school’ to which I get the obligatory ‘Why? and so I start answering (habit I guess) and then stop and go ‘I’ve just told you why you need to put your shoes on’ and sometimes I don’t even answer and get met a few more of those.

The trickiest part of all of this is helping our eldest son understand when it’s right to question and when it’s plain rude and cheeky. I have started to tell him to stop questioning me on every instruction I give him, yet I don’t want him to be someone who just does something because someone has told him to. My supportive husband and I don’t have the answers as to how exactly we can help both him and I through the learning process and I’m sure we’ll figure it out.