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My Child Asks Too Many Questions!

Does your child ask the same question over and over again? Does your child keep asking you for something until you give up and give in? Child behavior and parenting coach Traci Gaffney has a different parenting perspective on responding to a child’s questions. Maybe parents should be grateful that children come to the parent with their “asking” voice. Children do go through a developmental phase when they ask more questions. Whether it’s to manipulate or to learn, at least they are asking.

Ask Six Times!

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” W.C. Fields

We have all heard this quote before. Last year I was in a personal growth course where they said, “Ask six times.” It made me think of this quote, and also caused me to wonder why most people do not ask several times, and why we train our children to stop asking.

Think about it for a moment … when your kids ask for something, how many times do you “allow” them to ask before getting upset and annoyed? Is it once, twice, three times? Could it be SIX times? Probably not. We actually teach our children NOT to ask, not to persist, not to persevere to get what they want. I’m not talking about being harassing or making demands. I’m talking about healthy requests, asking for what they want. If you think about it, this is exactly what happened to us. We were told to stop asking.

Keeping that in mind, I would ask you to consider to yourself, “How has that served me?” Do you go for a job interview and take the first “no” and stop there? Do you ask your friends or family for what you need and stop asking if you don’t get it the first time? Do you call on an ad to buy something, and if they don’t answer or call you back, do you drop it?

Sometimes people get busy. Sometimes people are in a mood. Sometimes the timing is bad. Sometimes there is no reason at all that we get the response (or no response) that we get. If we stop asking, then we give up; we move on. What if we persevered and continued asking for what we want? What if we had that mentality, the thought that it IS okay to keep asking? If you don’t get the job you want, ask again! If you don’t get the return call you’re looking for, call again! Call six times. Ask six times. Be authentic. Be true to you. Be respectful. Keep asking!

This is something that we undo in our children. We teach them NOT to ask more than once. “No means no.” Well, sometimes that is true. What if, however, instead of condemning them for asking again, we actually praised them for their persistence and applaud them for their focus, drive, enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility, and passion! In life, we DO need to ask for what we want. And, sometimes we have to ask many times in order to get it. That is SO okay!


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So, this month, and for the year ahead, let’s make a new rule … asking is a great thing. Smile at your kids, applaud them for their passion and persistence, and still answer with whatever the answer is. No pressure. No anger. Just acceptance of what is. You don’t have to change. And … you may change. The day may bring new information. You never know. Sometimes we can’t give something today, but in two days we would be happy to give that. What if they NEVER asked again? They would learn that they must give up on their dreams, their goals, their passions. We do not want to create that for them. Have you given up on your dreams, goals and passions?

So, smile and be GRATEFUL that your children have the spunk to ask, ask, and ask again. They are learning to be creative, persistent, focused, and they are learning that it is absolutely okay to dream AND okay to not get everything right now. There are many wonderful lessons to learn in this experience.

I challenge YOU to begin ASKING SIX TIMES for the things YOU want. Reignite your dreams, your visions, your passions. ASK AGAIN! Doors are opening all the time!

Remember … “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi

Traci Gaffney has three children, is a parenting coach, speaker and author, and is the Founder of A Loving Way, a Wellness Advocacy for Children and Parents (www.alovingway.com). She can be reached at 800-647-1171 or tracigaffney@alovingway.com.


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Discussion Topics:

 

7 comments

  • Scott says:

    This great article by author and friend, Traci Gaffney, is certainly one point of view worth noting. Another ScottCounseling article, “Children, Manipulation & The Holidays” is also worth reading.

  • Scott says:

    Parent Comment sent to ScottCounseling:

    I am shocked that one would suggest that a child be praised for NOT listening…why would they follow rules? Why would they do ALL of their homework if they can just ask for extra days to get it done? And should the teacher praise them for their persistence? Or should the teacher reprimand them with a bad grade and the loss of recess for not following what they had been told?

    I can only hope you are referring to a 2,3 or 4 year old child…beyond that age this does not seem like a good suggestion to me as they begin to have consequences in the OUTSIDE world for not following rules…

    ScottCounseling Response: Yes, this parent is correct! We certainly do not want to train our children to ask question for manipulation purposes. When child do begin to ask questions just to manipulate or get what they want, we need to respond appropriately. Learning to say “NO” or “We need to discuss why you keep asking the same question when I have already answered you” must be shared with your child.

    Great discussion!

    Scott

  • Exhausted Mom! says:

    I’m not so sure I agree with the ask as often as you like idea. My daughter’s friend came to our house for a play date and incessantly questioned me over and over if she could sleep over. I told her that we would decide about the sleepover when the play date was over. She just wouldn’t let up. Each time I would answer her she would immediately ask again. Not only did she repeatedly ask about the sleepover, but she questioned everything over and over again. I was mentally exhausted being in this child’s company.

  • Scott says:

    Looks like this article (By ScottCounseling friend and author, Traci Gaffney) has stirred some difference of opinions. That’s great! Here’s how ScottCounseling see’s it:

    No child should be allowed to ask a question more than once if/when the parent feels that it is being done to manipulate or get ones way.

    Parents need to feel good (once an explanation is made) about saying “no,” and mean it. “No” means no…not keep asking until you hear a “yes.”

    Dr. David Walsh has written a great book, entitled “NO, Why Kids of All Ages Need to hear It, and Ways Parents Can Say It.” Amazon.com carries this book at a good price.

  • freepeacelove says:

    I think both sides have a point. No children should not be allowed to ask questions for manipulation but make sure they aren’t just curious. I found an excellent example elsewhere:
    Ex: Child-Why are the leaves green? Parent-Can you think of anything else that is green? Child-The grass. Parent-Right, anything else? Child-the leaves on the flowers. Parent-Right. Have you ever heard of chlorophyll? Guess what color that is? Child-Green? Parent-Right. And then you can get into a discussion about what chlorophyll is, where it is found, and what color it expresses in plants.

    This gives the child confidence in his own deductive reasoning and models inquiry-based problem solving. Do you see how this can encourage growth? Inquiry is a very powerful learning tool.

    For those of us smack dab in the “why” stage need to remember this won’t last long and schedule extra time for discussion encouraging our lil one’s curiosities so that learning continues to be fun. It’s exhausting, I know, or I wouldn’t be on here looking for answers myself. It’s only a stage and soon we’ll be wondering why they don’t ask us anymore wishing they did.

  • Scott says:

    Wow! Perfect response with great examples. Thanks for sharing!

  • Susan says:

    I have spent the day with my niece who is 8 1/2 and she continually asks the same questions over and over. I end up not enjoying time with her and worry there could be something wrong. At the zoo, there were no strollers allowed in a the cat house. She asked Why and I gave her the answer and then for the next 15 minutes asked why again at least 10 more times. It was like this for at least another 25 items. It seems she is too old to be still in the Why phase. Could this incessant questioning be a sign of another disorder? Everyone else notices,too.

    Her mom simply says to her you may not ask that question any more. I have told you the answer.

    It is really bizarre and ultimately does not allow people to enjoy spending time with her.


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