I know from personal experience that when your child is constantly asking you ‘why’, it drives you mad. Ironically, I was one of those children who constantly asked ‘why’. However, as a Parent Coach, I have come to realise that this is the most important question that your child could ever ask you.
Why is ‘why’ so important?
Firstly, as all actions are based upon our intention, knowing our ‘why’ helps us with our accountability. By asking ‘why’ do you do this or that, it takes you to your intention. This is an important habit for us as role models to our children to get into so that we can encourage this habit in our children; to check our intention.
For example, when your child asks you why do you give their sibling more money than them, this ‘why’ is going to lead you to question your intentions and whether you are acting fairly towards your children.
If you ask your child to tell the salesman on the phone or at the door that you are not home, that ‘why’ is going to lead you to question if you are giving your child the correct instructions. ‘Why’ not only holds you accountable but it helps your child decide if they should accept you as a role model or not. If you are struggling to give your ‘why’, you might want to reflect on why that is (no pun intended :)).
Secondly, ‘why’ helps you to make the right choices. Every child has been born with the gift of free-will. This means that they choose to listen to you or not. How do they decide this? By asking why? :) Why allows your child to balance up the reasons for and against and then to make an informed choice based on certainty that this is the best choice. It might drive you mad when you’ve asked your child to put the rubbish out now and they ask you why does it have to be done now.
For you, you may want that feeling that the house is clean and your jobs are up to date. Or it might be the case that the bins are leaking or smelling. Or it might be the case that the bins are being collected today. Either way, your response to ‘why’ helps your child understand why this job should take priority in their list of priorities. Is it more important than finishing their game???
As I say to the teenagers that I work with, Allah swt gave you free-will so you can choose to listen to your parents or Allah or you can choose not to. The choice has been given to you. But with that freedom comes responsibility. You will have to explain to Allah why you chose what you did. So it is really important that we as parents encourage our children to become self-reflective. ‘Why’ is the key to this.
‘Why’ not only takes you to your intention which is really important, but also it helps us find certainty and confidence in the right course of action. So my advice to you beautiful mothers is to embrace the ‘why’.
However, knowing how annoying ‘why’ can be, here are a few practical tips for embracing the ‘why’:-
- If you’re busy and do not have time to address your child’s questions fully, tell your child that you will discuss it with him in a short while.
- If the answer is personal and not appropriate for children, then I find that instead of ‘I will explain it to you when you are older’, you might want to simply say that ‘that’s a really good question and there is a great reason why but its really personal for me so I can’t tell you why at this moment. But if you can explain it, then do so as it will help that matter settle in your child’s heart.
- Turn the question back on your child – ask them in a gentle way why do they want to know? What are they uncertain about? Then you can understand the problem they are having or the goal they are trying to reach.
- Get into a regular habit of asking yourself ‘why’. So if you find yourself snapping at your children, then ask yourself why. Is it because you had an argument with your husband or your friend offended you? Or is it really because of what you child did? If it is, is it because you see your child as an extension of you so if they don’t behave it proves that you are a failed parent? Or can you find another reason for behaviour, could they be bored, hungry or tired for example?
When we fail to embrace the ‘why’, we start to curb our children’s natural curious instinct to become confident individuals who make correct decisions intentionally. If you’re looking to raise happy, pious and productive Muslims, then you need to embrace the ‘why’.