Long before I became a dad, I had many run-ins with the phrase “because I said so.” I hated when I’d hear it. Despised it, even. I promised myself that I’d never be that dad that used that phrase. And then, the “Why?” stage hit. All bets were off.
I always laughed at other people’s kids when they’d do nothing but ask why to everything. Even when they asked me, I just laughed it off. It was entertaining. When it’s your own kid, asking you why about everything, it’s a whole other story.
Sophia is a smart girl. Too smart, sometimes. She wants to learn, loves to read, makes up her own stories for her books, and picks things up very quickly. I love that. It makes me proud to watch her recite song lyrics or lip sync along with a song in the car. If she’s this smart throughout her life, she’s gonna leave me in the dust in the smarts department. So, I can’t be upset, or mad, or annoyed when she asks why. She wants to learn. She wants to know why the snow lands on the ground. Why the snow makes the ground slippery. She wants to know why she has to ride in her car seat and can’t sit up front. She wants to know why Maddie can’t walk, run, or jump yet.
Basically, she wants to know the why to all of life’s mysteries. But then she also wants to know why to every answer. And then the why to every answer’s answer. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends. The only way to end it is for me to drop the phrase that I hate… “because I said so.”
I don’t wanna say it. I try to stop myself from saying it. But, like a nervous tic or a vice you just can’t kick, out it comes. And I cringe as the words come forth from my lips.
I’ve tried flipping the script on her, lately. Anytime Sophia goes crazy with the why question, I start asking her “why not?” It hasn’t had the desired impact, but hey, sometimes you gotta try something different. She’s a curious girl, and that is something I’m just gonna have to get used to. Or else, I’ll be the one walking around muttering “why? why? why? why?” like a crazy person, wrapped in a blanket.
How do you handle the unanswerable question of the never-ending why? All methods welcome!
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2 thoughts on “Why? Why? Why? The Unanswerable Question”
My 3yo boy just started doing this a couple of months ago, and it drives me batty. I’d happily sit and answer his questions for hours, but it’s when he just starts repeating “why” over and over without even listening to what I’m saying that I get ragey.
I tend to go for “why do you think?” as my response. If nothing else, it makes him pause for a second…
Like you, I believe the questions are part of intellect. And like you they can drive a parent batty. So, I just try to deal with it. My boys are older than your daughter and still ask a lot of questions. At this point, I can give answer like: I don’t know, That’s a good question, and look it up on the Internet.
I really like the last one. We can learn together.