On our trip out to BC this summer, my brother and sister-in-law commented on something I’d never really noticed before. After spending an afternoon with us, they thanked us for answering Briony’s questions – noting that she asked lots of three year old questions but that we took the time to ANSWER them and give her the information about the world she was looking for.
Honestly? I’d never really given it much thought. It’s certainly not a defined ‘parenting strategy’ we’ve agreed to. It probably has a lot to do with our philosophy that we’re raising an adult (and hopefully one who functions intelligently + generously in society).
But since that conversation, I’ve been noticing it A LOT – noting the times it would be easier to ignore a ‘silly’ question or respond with a thoughtless ‘because I said so.’ And I’ve been noticing how often other parents respond that way. As a result, I’ve been making very conscious decisions to answer Briony when she asks a question, taking the time to satisfy her curiosity. And you know what? The more I do this, the fewer questions she asks and the happier she is. IMAGINE THAT.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to visit a foreign country and ask for directions or information, only to be ignored or brushed off – but that’s exactly what we’re doing to kids when we refuse to answer their questions, isn’t it? And I want her to keep that curiosity. More than that, I want to keep being the person on the receiving end of all those questions – the one she trusts to have the answers, especially when those questions get trickier and more important.
Just a little something I’ve been thinking about this week. I sure don’t do this perfectly, but it’s something I’m working on right now.