Questions are a blessing!

Posted on · Posted in Communication, Parenting

Young children ask questions. Be thankful. As a parent, you want to keep the questions coming. No doubt someone is saying, are you crazy, all I do is answer questions!

If  you become exasperated with these questions, eventually they will diminish.  While this may bring short-term relief, it will also result in a diminished relationship with your children as they become move towards the teenage years.

To illustrate: children ask tons of questions. Parents become increasingly frustrated and annoyed with the question barrage. As children grow older they realize their questions are not appreciated, so they look else where. By the time the teenage years arrive, it is the parent’s who are asking the questions and it is the teenagers who are annoyed. Interesting turn of events!

Being annoyed with or detached from the questions of young children will result in only hearing logistical questions from your teenagers.  If your teenagers are primarily asking logistical questions, such as can I have the car, or when is dinner, this should alert you that the important questions are going to someone else.  Your goal is to have your kids ask you about the hard things in life. But like you, your older children and teenagers will reserve those questions for the people who have time for all of their questions.

You goal is to create a relational climate in which your teenagers want to come to you. Listen carefully to your children and observe the things that they struggle with. Take an interest in the things they are interested in. Ask them genuine questions about their interests. Patience is key here. If you have not been a good listener, you can become one. Initially, it may take time for older children and teenagers to begin to seek you out again.

Pursue your teenagers not so much for what they have done, but for who they are. Questions that focus on what is done, that is behavior, yield short, defensive answers and eventual loss of good communication. Genuinely engaging your children about who they are and what is important to them leads to openness and the potential for rich, constructive communication.

As you practice this biblical model of aggressively listening and showing genuine interest in your children, the questions will come, once again. Be glad for questions. Use them to build a bridge to your child’s heart. As Proverbs 18:15 says, the ears of the wise seek out knowledge. The questions your children ask are a blessing!

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.