In the A to Z parenting tips series this week we are discussing how to teach children to question things. Last week we discussed how to teach our children Patience. Why do people ask questions? To find out information and to learn.
Let Them Know Their Questions Are Relevant
We should educate our children on the benefits of asking questions at all times. Every question a child asks is relevant and a way to understand what is going on in the mind of your child. Pure and simple children ask questions because they are curious and they are looking for information.
Some children have helped save terrible situations because they asked timely questions. Other times because a child was afraid to speak or is used to being hushed up when she would like to speak situations such as abuse have gone on undetected. Encourage your child to express herself, no matter how surprised you are about the questions. There will always be questions that need your wisdom and careful response to get out of – such as where do babies come from?
Developing A Sense of Curiosity
As children grow up, they become increasingly conscious of their environment and what is happening around them. They naturally start to discern between the good and the bad of what they say, hear, think and do. A new born baby would respond to light, heat and sound. A toddler would want to reach out for a candle and touch the flame, or dismantle the DVD to understand why mum and dad keep pushing things into it. As the child grows and develops the ability to talk, they begin to ask questions about their family, their school and the environment as a whole. Unfortunately, due to the world we live in there will always be questions or situations that are not child appropriate. As parents and the adults around them, we need to know how to protect them and guard them, from inappropriate information depending on their ages. We are not always in the position to sugar coat or give a nice answer to things – however, we should always remember that children are forming a picture of the world around them and we are a necessary part in helping them shape their world.
Children should be carefully guided on what they have access to, inappropriate influence can negatively affect the sense of curiosity. Sources of influence include the media, internet, and television which you must put methods to control in place. A child overly influenced by adult videos or uncensored internet access will be put in situations that they are not well equipped to handle. Rather encourage them to read educative and age appropriate books and watch educational programs. Have conversations with your child to let them know what is appropriate and what is not. Communication for a child who is discovering his or her world is critical for healthy development.
Shifting The Balance of Power
There is a common adage used among our people that says ‘children are meant to be seen and not heard’ this is just not true. Children deserve to be heard, what they need in addition to freedom to question things is to be taught the appropriate ways to behave when they cannot blurt out questions.
If a child is not allowed to questions things and express themselves, either of these is likely –
- The child might grow up to be secretive
- The child might grow up not having a clue about life and what it entails of them
- The child might grow up with a lack of self-confidence.
Ask Your Children Questions
Sir Isaac Newton (a famous physicists) stated the first and third Law of motion ‘ For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ and ‘ an object will remain in a state of rest unless exerted upon by an external force. You might be wondering what physics has to do with this?
Asking your children questions will help you as a parent discover various things about your children; their abilities, interests, fears, weaknesses and strengths. Some children are naturally born quiet and reserved and it is only through asking questions that you will know what is going on. Asking questions helps to stimulate their brains as they are forced to think, in order to give a response and to communicate clearly.
Asking questions can also help their learning process, as they can easily ask questions, and clarify issuesas necessary. Make them realize the reason you are asking the questions is for their own benefit and because you love them. The action and the external force here (as stated in Newton’s first and third law of motion) is the effort of the parents to initiate conversation and create a bond through consistent, continuous and concerted question asking.