The Sewing Triangle was back together again. My two dearest college girlfriends and I arranged a playdate to catch up and let our collective twelve children play together. Twelve children ages 7 and under. No one died. In fact, it was pretty peaceful and special to all be together.
But there were a lot of whys. When you have that many kids of those ages, it’s bound to happen, and my dear friend commented after responding to her son, “That’s one of my weaknesses: answering all the whys when sometimes it should just be, ‘Because Mommy said so.’ ”
We all have opinions about how whys should be handled. Some of us strongly favor explaining everything in great detail to our kids, while others think obedience should be instant and unquestioning. It got me to thinking though, maybe there’s a third alternative that’s really better for everyone. Usually it’s better to set our kids up for success, to prepare for a situation instead of reacting to it. So, how to do that with the dreaded “why”?
What if we preemptively answer the why when we give the directions? Instead of, “Joshua, please put on your shoes,” we could say, “Joshua, we are about to go to the store, and the store rules say that we have to wear shoes; please go find yours and put them on!” Then, it will be easy to discern if little Joshua is willing to comply with our request, because he doesn’t have the opportunity to “need” information; we’ve already supplied it.
I’m curious what you all think. How often do you react to your kids, and how often do you set up the situation ahead of time to promote the outcome you are looking for?