Kids asking why. Why?

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Kids asking why. Why?

It’s the thing all parents fear. The day comes when your little bundle of joy turns into a reasoning, logical human and with that graduation into logical thought comes the most irritating of all questions known to man. “Why?” The incessant, relentless torture of kids asking why never has a true resolution. They can ask why to ANY answer you may reply with, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The little guy learned in the past week the meaning of the word why and has used it to great advantage in his conversations with his mother and myself; ending in much deep breathing and temple rubbing on our part. Normally I at least try to prepare for the hurdles of parenting I know are coming, but this one caught me completely off guard.

Kids asking why have confounded parents for generations. There simply is not argument, no answer you can give that will satisfy the question. “Why should I go to bed?” You have school in the morning. “Why?” So you can learn things. “Why?” So you can grow into a functional member of society. “Why?” And on it goes. But, being unusually clever (at least I like to think so), I have found a way to, at least, get a temporary reprieve.

When faced with a child or kids asking why I have found the only way to escape the never ending, circular questioning is to confuse them and redirect. So when your child starts asking why, rather than try to answer you say “Not why. When.” Inevitably this leads to “No. Why?” So you reply, “Where?” The name of the game is to get them to say something besides “why”. Once you do, you have to spring into action! Grab whatever they say and twist it into a silly statement or something to make them pause then distract them with a toy, game or by sending them to bed.

My child like to start this whole process right before bed and continue it well after having been tucked in. Since distracting him with toys and games is not a good idea right before trying to get him to sleep I’ve developed a second option. This option is a little more straight forward, but still keep me from saying the phrase that all parents hate to hear come out of their own mouth. “Because I said so!”

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Kids asking why have driven that statement from frustrated parents and we did it when we were young. I always

Photo by Steve A Johnson on / CC BY

hated the phrase. And nothing will make you feel older or more defeated than uttering those words. I found myself saying it a couple of times and each time it left a bad taste in my mouth. That was when I instituted the rules. The bed rules are a group of four rules that we now follow each night at bed.


  • Lay down
  • Lay Still
  • Close your eyes
  • Go to sleep

If my little darling starts playing with a stuffed animal and I tell him to stop, he will ask me why. Rather than getting caught in the trap, though, I simply ask him what the rules are. When he tells me I simply say “Then do it.” Occasionally I’ll add that games are not on the list and we don’t play the “Why” game in bed. If it continues after this, I’ll simply ask him the rules and tells him to go to sleep. It may take a few tries, but soon enough he gives up and follows the bedtime rules.

He seems to be getting smarter far more quickly than I am, though. I was not prepared for kids asking why in my household, but was able to adjust quickly enough, but what happens next time? I’m afraid that one day soon the logical reasoning of a three-year-old may overcome my own. He seems to be evolving as a person more quickly than I am as a parent, and I fear that eventually I’m going to lose this battle of the minds. It’s like watching an evil genius develop and knowing you have no power to stop it.

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Posted in Dad's Gonna Lose It!.