8 Unnecessary and Even Harmful Questions You Shouldn’t Ask Your Child

You keep on asking these questions again and again despite knowing the answer will get you to nowhere. I have gathered here the most unnecessary questions parents had better avoid asking their children

1) Why do you have to fight all the time? This question is addressed to brothers and sisters and it’s coming from deep frustration parents experience seeing their children constantly at each other’s throats. Every parent fantasizes about his or her children loving and playing together in harmony. But in reality, siblings can’t do without fighting (Did you not fight with your brother or sister when you were a child?). Sibling quarrels are a natural thing and they teach children important life skills, such as negotiation and learning to properly handle winning or losing situations.

2) Why did you leave your plate on the table? Parents tempt to ask their children this question at the end of the meal. Children will usually ignore it or will give a casual answer, such as ‘I forgot’. In any case, it will not move you even one step forward towards instilling proper table manners in your child.

A much more productive way of asking this question is ‘I can see you always forget to remove your dishes from the table. What Can I do to help you remember?’ That way, you force your child to come up with good ideas that have a good chance of success next time.  

3) What do you want to eat? What answer would you expect to hear? Your child will most likely say pizza, ice cream or any other food that will hardly meet your requirements of being healthy. Instead, you can ask more smartly ‘Which vegetable do you want today?’ or ‘Do you prefer a boiled egg or an omelet?’

4) Do you feel like visiting your grandma?  When we present a question like that, we risk getting a negative answer. Keeping in touch with relatives is very important and it shouldn’t be left for your child to decide whether she likes it or not. Simply avoid asking this unnecessary question.

5) Aren’t you tired of playing this game? Children can play a certain game for hours even though we, as adults, cannot understand where they got all that energy from. Besides, we have to remember that children’s ability to measure time is not as developed compared to us. Finally, adults can also spend hours doing the same thing if they really like it.

6) Don’t you think you ate enough chocolate for one day? Young children don’t think about calories and they are, definitely, not aware of the damages too much sugar can cause. It will be better to set a quota of candies your child can eat every day and, therefore, prevent future arguments.

7) Don’t you think it’s time to go to bed? No, your child will probably not think that she has to stop everything she is doing at the moment just because it’s too late and tomorrow she has to wake up early. We can’t expect children to be aware of the physiological need to sleep and asking them about it will not be helpful in any way. You’d better just say ‘Young lady/Young man, it’s time to go to bed. Tomorrow is another day and you will be able to finish what you started today

8) Why do you behave like that?  Of all the questions I can think of, this is the most useless and unneeded one. It will be futile to expect young children to know the motive behind their actions (which is something that even experienced patents often fail to understand). Our children are not born with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Simply avoid this question or refer it to your spouse or to a therapist.    

Article contributed by Amanda Weiss, a child psychologist from Toronto, Canada