I’m usually careful how I phrase things with my children but, when they do something ridiculous, I do something equally ridiculous: I ask them why.ThoughtBubble

“Why would you kick a huge rock?!” (Excuse me if I don’t get you an ice pack for your stubbed toe.) 

They never have a good answer. They say “I don’t know”.

Why do I keep asking?

The other day, hanging out with my son on the swings, I heard a mom call to her child in an I-am-not-happy voice. She said:

“Why did you come to the playground when I told you not to?” Then, get this, she corrected herself and said, “Never mind. The only good answer to that is ‘I’m sorry’ so just get your things and let’s go.”

And good golly, the girl got her stuff and they left. It was magical. I chased super mom down in the parking lot and tackled her with a big bear hug. (Daydreams can be awesome. And weird.)

I’ve caught myself asking my husband and parents this. It’s not really a question. Yet it’s not rhetorical because, at the time, I’m expecting some sort of explanation. Why do I continue to ask why?


Why (2)


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


25 thoughts on “Why?

  1. Why is the easy go to. I’ve learned asking why only results in frustration for parent and child and in the “I don’t know answer” you said. Unfortunately it’s not always easy in the heat of the moment to stop and say, “it doesn’t matter why, this is not ok…” because we’re all so used to asking why and honestly I often really want to know why my kids do certain things cause often, I just don’t get it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is easy. And quick. I think it is often said out of frustration but, like you commented, just leads to more frustration. Exactly…I just don’t get it sometimes. I think that perhaps the answer is that they are kids and don’t really know why they did it or they just wanted to see what would happen.
      I’m wondering about the adults now, though. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh, the why questions only get better with age — “why did you let your younger sister drive when you are the one who has a drivers license?” “Why didn’t you tell me you hit a pastor’s car in the parking lot?” “Why did you marry a South American mixed-martial-artist before his deportation?” The only difference is that you learn to internalize the questioning and hide your lips mumbling with a flickering smile.

    Hee, hee…I daydream too!

    Liked by 8 people

    • Yeah, daydreams. They make the world go ’round. At least a writer’s world. I think my son was asking me something as I was picturing running after super mom. *sigh* We are a wicked weird awesome bunch of people, us writers.

      So, tell me you made up those example questions for when they get older. Because, what? What?! How would you internalize those? I’m not sure I’d be able to do that. I’m big on the bustin’ out with a “Why would you…” Also, I’m a fan of the “What did you think would happen?”
      No. Sympathy.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I believe that is exactly what I’m saying at the time. It’s more of an accusation than a question. “Why would you drive after your eye appointment when your eyes are dilated and you can’t see well?!” Translated: “That was stupid and dangerous and you shouldn’t have done it.” And yet, I wait for an explanation. If I’m calm, I can ask a genuine question that is likely to get an interesting answer, indeed.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well. Now I think I’m a mean mom. I ask why… But I require an actual answer and ” I don’t know” is not acceptable. If you did something questionable, you better have a damn good reason as to “why” lol. Oh how that makes them scrunch their faces, and it gives me a minute to take a step back and decide if I’m really mad or amused.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is an interesting question, Sarah: Why do we ask why? And I think you have reached the most likely conclusion through the discussion.
    I think “The I don’t know” response is often offered because the tone of the “why” implies a reprimand rather than curiosity, with the final part of the statement left unsaid and just hanging there: “Why did you do that? You know it was a stupid thing to do. You know you were going to get hurt. There was no good reason for you to do it.”
    With the accusation so strong, it would be quite a creative and quick-witted child to dare to come up with an alternative response, ” Well, I wasn’t sure how heavy the rock was or how far I could kick it. I just felt like kicking it to see how far it could go. It was there and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I just felt like it. I didn’t really think about it. I was feeling angry and I needed to kick something. I didn’t want to kick my brother so I kicked the rock. I didn’t mean to, it was an accident.”
    It would be a bit like asking me why did I have another square of chocolate: I just wanted to, that’s all. It tastes nice. Do I have to say that I have no will power, that I know it’s not good for me, that I’m endangering my health but I don’t care, that instant gratification is more important than long-term gain? Actually now that I think about it, the long-term ‘gain’ has already arrived! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah… It really does imply a reprimand, It usually is. O_o But it’s one that attempts to get an answer, like I said, because it’s not rhetorical. But, as you point out, with a tone like that how would a child (or an adult for that matter) answer?
      Wow. That would have to be an extremely creative and quick-witted child indeed to come up with all that. Sometimes my younger one will say something like, “Um, that was a stupid thing to do but it seemed like a good idea at the time.” And we both kind of laugh because how can you not?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly right! That’s probably all it is most of the time, doing something without thinking.
        All of those sentences weren’t meant to be one example, but a number of separate examples. I guess I didn’t explain that very well – sorry.
        Laughter is probably the best antidote!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. *laugh* Oh goodness, I am glad I read this and the responses… so much good stuff to think about there. I was feeling guilty because I often don’t ask why, I go down the “I don’t care why, this isn’t acceptable.” On the other hand… when I DO ask why I get some really long, self-absorbed answers. “Why did you take that toy?” “Well, because he took it and I really wanted it,” is what it usually boils down to.

    I had to laugh at “I don’t know,” not being an answer as well, because I get a lot of “Because,” and THAT is not an answer either. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like your “I don’t care why…” That is a much better reaction. Way better than the constant “Why?” It just goes nowhere. Letting them know it’s unacceptable is the best way to cut through it all.

      “Because” is not an answer, it’s a conjunction. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah, great post and the comments are so much fun to read. I realized reading this that I don’t ask why that much. I once asked why he ate his boogers and he told me they’re delicious. An explanation of why that’s not really a good idea did nothing to stop him, so I only now ask if they’re still tasty and explain why eating boogers is just not good for you.
    Half the time I understand why or at least I think I understand. Rocks are fun to kick. Collecting sand in your shoes from the playground so you can make a sandbox in the house does sound like something a 5 year old would find reasonable and fun. Who doesn’t want a sandbox they can play in all the time? You don’t even have to get dressed. (I imagine that that’s the line of thinking.)
    The other half I don’t want to know. Because how would you respond to: Why are you licking the dog’s butt? (True story) or Why are you putting your plate on the floor? (Well, that one was an easy explanation: he was pretending to be a cat.)
    Reading the responses I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s an upside to having an only child, there’s just one. One head of crazy ideas or experiments. His only accomplice is a dog, who’s fairly lazy and only tolerates him for a while.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t even… I can’t… Why?! Those images are going to stay with me, thank you very much.

      Yeah, the comments are always such fun to read. Well, good for you for not asking “why”. Indeed, what on earth would he say? O_o

      Liked by 2 people

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