Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Asking Children Questions


It would come as no surprise to most that children are easily influenced and suggestible. But parents may forget this fact when questioning their children. Parents can question their children as to what happened, but they need to make sure to not repeatedly ask the same question, or both parent and child will become frustrated.

When young children are asked the same question over and over they are very likely to change their answer. Children are trying to figure out what the parent wants them to say. By repeating a question over the child can interpret this as confirmation that the first answer was wrong. So if you ask a child if they did something and they answer, "Yes," but you ask them if they are sure, don't be surprised if their answer changes to, "No." Also when a parent ask a question this will allow the child to speculate and use their imaginations and come up with answers that seem quite illogical to the parent. There is also this danger if parents ask leading questions, or guide the child towards a certain answer. The child is trying to answer they way they think the parent wants them to. This is also why a child is likely to claim they did something that another child or adult did if they think it will result in a reward. And vice versa they will pass the blame if they think it will lead to a punishment.

Parents should talk to their kids and ask them questions and find out what is going on in their minds. But they can't forget that child's brain isn't fully matured yet and will answer questions to make the parent happy. Parents need to make sure to word their questions carefully and not ask the same question over and over.

Have you had experiences with this?

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