In The Beginning Was The Word and the Word Was WHY?
Your toddler hits four and it seems the only word ‘Little Miss or Master Inquisitor’ knows is WHY?
“WHY do birds eat worms?”
“WHY have cats got whiskers?”
“WHY do flowers die?”
“WHY does the sun go out at night?”
“WHY are there holes in my cheese?”
“WHY are peas and broccoli green?”
“WHY is Daddy going away?”
“WHY can’t I wear my wellies to bed?”
If you have (had) children you’ll remember this nightmare word for ever. It drives us nuts!
After being asked the question WHY? for the zillionth time in one day, we’re ready to wring the little darling’s neck, or seriously thinking about running away from home!
We become frustrated, impatient and tense. Our face aches with trying to keep a perpetual smile, but it is now the rictus (death) smile of one pushed to the limits of our endurance.
Unless we can divert this irritating, annoying and loud pest constantly buzzing in our ear, we know we’re soon going to lose it. Unfortunately, we often do.
“For goodness sake stop asking stupid questions” we yell. “You’re driving me mad”, “Go and play outside”, “For god’s sake shut up I just can’t bear this anymore”!
‘Little Miss Inquisitor’ instantly becomes ‘Little Miss Rejected’. Her little face, a moment ago so animated and interested, now becomes rigid with fright and her smile instantly crumbles.
Depending upon her personality she might slink off quietly, or burst into tears and run to her room.
Whatever our child’s reaction, we feel like a ‘party-pooper’, shame and guilt, a terrible mother, a horrible person who for no real reason has just broken her child’s heart. Has this happened to you? You’re not the only one. Every mother experiences this from time to time.
What would you do now? Will you ignore it and get on with what you were doing before you got so rudely interrupted? Will you go and find the child and hug her and apologise for upsetting her? Will you tell yourself “She’s only four, she'll forget it in five minutes”.
If you can recall something similar your parent/s said to you as a child you will know how much that hurt, because if it hadn’t you wouldn’t be able to recall it. And your own child might one day be saying to a friend, “My Mum’s not interested in me, she never listens to me, and I just can’t talk to her”.
This is not meant to make you feel guilt or shame or bad, it’s just a reminder that children get emotionally wounded easily and remember it 'unconsciously' for ever.
Here’s my suggestion for handling this fraught situation and any others that make you feel out of control; Take several deep breaths, if you can still talk normally say something like; “Sweetie, Mummy’s feeling a bit stressed/tired right now, would you please go and find your favourite book/toy/pet and play for a few minutes while Mummy makes a drink for us and then we can sit down and play? I would really like that”. The object of this is to calm yourself down and get your emotions back under control.
How have you dealt with this very common situation? We’d love to hear your comments.
©Annie Moyes - 2013 - All Rights Reserved
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