Why do parents ask stupid questions
Parents often ask questions of their children that may seem silly or stupid from the child’s perspective. However, there are usually good reasons why parents ask these types of questions.
Ensuring safety and wellbeing
One of the main responsibilities of a parent is to ensure their child’s health, safety and wellbeing. Many of the “stupid” questions parents ask come from a place of caring about their child’s welfare.
Checking in on their activities
Parents may ask questions about what their child is doing, who they are with, where they are going etc. to check that they are safe and not getting into trouble. For example:
- Where are you going? – They want to know the location to ensure it is an appropriate place for their child to be.
- Who are you going with? – They want to know something about the friends their child is spending time with.
- What time will you be home? – They want to know when to expect their child back.
As boring as it is for kids, parents ask these questions so they can monitor that their child is ok.
Assessing health and mood
Parents also ask questions to gauge their child’s health and mood. For example:
- How did you sleep? – They want to know if their child is rested or possibly got enough sleep.
- Did you have a good day? – They are checking if their child is in good spirits or might be dealing with a problem.
- How are you feeling? – They want to know about any physical symptoms that could require care or attention.
Although kids may roll their eyes when asked these kinds of questions, parents are just trying to be aware of anything impacting their child’s health or happiness.
Showing care and interest
Even questions that may seem mundane or unnecessary to kids often show that parents are taking an interest in the details of their child’s life and expressing care about their experiences. For example:
- What did you learn at school today?
- Did anything interesting happen today?
- What was the funniest thing that happened today?
While these questions may annoy kids, they give them a chance to talk about their day and let parents demonstrate their love and concern.
Another reason parents ask a lot of questions is to pass on lessons and instill values in their children.
Promoting critical thinking
Parents often ask questions not because they don’t know the answer, but because they want their child to think through something themselves. Continually answering questions inhibits a child’s ability to problem solve, so parents ask questions to develop this important skill. For example:
- Why do you think that happened?
- What do you think you should do about it?
- What could you have done differently?
These types of questions push children to evaluate situations and think about consequences, decisions and actions. Critical thinking is an essential life skill that questioning helps build.
Parents also use questioning to ensure their child is learning key responsibilities.
Often responsibilities relate to habits like cleaning up after themselves, doing chores properly, being places on time etc. For example:
- Did you brush your teeth?
- Did you clean your room?
- Have you done your homework?
Although it’s tedious being asked these types of questions, parents are trying to ingrain good habits and a sense of duty into their kids.
As kids get older, parents also ask questions to maintain their position of authority and respect in the parent-child relationship.
Parents enforce rules and set boundaries by asking questions like:
- What’s the curfew I set for you?
- Did I say you could go to that party?
- Who said that was ok?
Rather than dictating to their child, questioning reminds kids that parents get the final say and makes them take responsibility for their own compliance.
It can be easy for parents to make assumptions about their child’s behavior and activities. However, assumptions often lead to unfair accusations.
Questions allow children the chance to explain the context behind something that may otherwise appear suspicious to parents. Kids still have to tell the truth and face consequences, but at least they avoid being punished or scolded for false assumptions.
What kids can do
While some parent questions may seem stupid or annoying, there are good reasons behind the endless inquiries. However, here are some tips for kids dealing with questions from parents:
- Be honest. Don’t escalate the situation by lying which will only lead to more questions. Tell the truth from the outset.
- Communicate boundaries. Calmly let your parents know if certain questions make you uncomfortable or seem too intrusive.
- Show understanding. Recognize that the questions often come from a place of love, care and responsibility.
- Ask clarifying questions. If you’re unsure why your parents are asking something, politely ask them to explain their reasons.
- Set expectations. Respectfully discuss guidelines with your parents around the type and frequency of questions.
Open, calm dialogue between parents and kids goes a long way in making sure questioning doesn’t become excessive or contentious.
Ultimately parents will always worry about and be responsible for their children. So endless questions, however silly or stupid they seem, are inevitable.
Understanding the good intentions behind most parents’ questions can help kids respond with patience and empathy.