The Daily Inquisition: Dealing with a Steady Stream of Complaint-Like Questions from Kids
One of the things that I didn't expect as a mother of many children was dealing with their audible inner monologue of questions.
(I don't even think that that's what it’s called, but I really don't have a word for it. There's probably a psychology term for it, but guess what: I haven't looked into it.)
The Onslaught of Questions
What am I talking about? I'm talking about the onslaught of questions having to do with fairness and frustration that comes from the mouths of my babes.
- Why does he get to go to Papa's house? He just went there yesterday?!
- Why does she get to go out and get her nails done?! I didn't get that for my first communion!
- Why does he get to go to preschool and we have to go to school?!
- Why aren't we going to do anything FUN today after school?! We NEVER do anything fun.
Admittedly, my way of dealing with all these inquiries might not be...the most edifying. But it is how I have survived.
Here's my secret: when people pile into the car, literally hot and bothered by the corporeal circumstances of desert-living school dismissal, and start dispersing questions with the rapidity of an automatic firearm, I simply...don't answer.
Ha! So easy.
Requests are Veiled Complaints
I suppose you could say that I ignore them. I ignore all their questions until they've settled down to hear me say, "I am not taking requests right now." It's different from not answering questions or curious inquiries.
Requests, though? They're veiled complaints.
My kids feel free to vent every disgruntled emotion they have—to me! It's such impolite company, and nobody likes an adult who's like that.
My Own Inner Monologue
The reason I call it their inner monologue is because I have those same questions about a variety of things every day.
Is it worthwhile for me to actually ask those questions? Do I really not know the answer to those questions? "Life ISN'T fair. Enjoy what you have. Stop comparing!" All those things that you come to know and have to learn to accept as true throughout life.
Responding at Appropriate Times
I haven't done a lot of research into better ways to respond to my children. Perhaps others have different approaches. I’d be interested in hearing any of them that don't require me mouthing glib responses on a daily basis.
And, of course, if I have a child who approaches me at home with a genuine question about life and it's unfairness, I'm happy to have a discussion. As King Solomon so wisely said, there's a proper season for everything under the sun.
For this mother, the season is in her quiet, cool, calm room after the two youngest have gone to bed. And that's ok.
We all need to learn how to hold our tongue and decide whether all grievances must be aired. This is how I'm helping my kids start early.
What about you?