Communicating – Why does my child do that?

Newsletter by Family Graffiti | Published on 4th May 2018

Why ask why?

Every time your child misbehaves do you ask them why?

"Why did you do that?" "Why can't you behave?"

...9/10 times we bet that you don’t ever get any proper answers from them.

At best an “I don’t know” or a shrug of the shoulders. And you’re thinking surely there must be a reason - why won’t they tell me?

Ask What, Not Why!

Children are constantly recording everything that they see, feel, hear, taste and smell. This information is going in and is being ‘filed’.

But what does the child do when they recall this information they’ve stored? Is their reaction (behaviour) an attempt to express their recordings and true feelings? Or is it ‘created’ by them (out of their confused recall) in an attempt to try to explain their recalled version to you?

“What are they actually trying to tell you?”


I believe that in many cases the parent’s mind has to be every bit as active and as curious as the child’s. We have to be open and engaged to interpret their message. No matter how subtle and complex their ‘reaction’.

The mismatch of information and reaction the child is giving is a display. A display that is often misinterpreted by the parent.

What they have recorded, collected and developed in their mind, can often be ‘un-true’. This can seem deliberate in their displays and then can transmit the wrong message.

Why won’t my child tell me why they are behaving badly?

Why do Parent’s always ask “why don’t you listen”, “why did you do that”, “why are you so angry”, why did you hit your sister”. If they told you the truth, what difference would it make to their punishment?


Why ask why?
They probably don’t know the answer to that question, any better than you do.

This is when we parents, need to consider “what is it that you are actually feeling, what is it that you truly want me to know?”

What is it that you need to know is: What is it that they are trying to achieve? Once you know that you can teach them a better way to ask for it.

You need to know how to help your child change their behaviour, and that is not a why question.

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