By Miracle Nwankwo
Divorce and domestic violence may not be the only parental issue that has side effects on children, as there are other issues that leave a lasting negative impact on a child which most parents are unaware of. One of these issues is the situation of children not getting answers to their question or being shut down by a parent when they ask too many questions. At the early stage of a child’s life, usually between the age of four to six, all children, girls and boys alike seem to catch the curiosity bug, which tends to tons of logical and illogical questions been showered on their parents at any given opportunity. However, parents should not be weary or be pushed to ignore or shun them because that episode has a lot to do in their lives.
According to Bill Zimmerman, Creator of MakeBeliefsComix.com; “One of the greatest gifts parents can offer their beloved children is to encourage their innate gift of curiosity, to support their eagerness to understand all they can about the world they live in, to nurture their hunger to learn new things.”
In doing this, parents must learn to listen carefully and portray willingness to answer the many questions they ask.
Sometimes, these questions may be tiresome and could come at inconvenient moments; the truth is – you would never know how great the impact of answering a child’s questions or trying to see the world through their lenses, would do to that child’s mental health and future.
“Your child’s constant questions might be annoying, but they offer a unique chance to shape their developing brains,” said Dr Neha Chaudhary M.D., a double board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist.
“It turns out that by answering and asking questions, parents play a vital role in a child’s learning. By paying attention to this simple — sometimes annoying — phenomenon, parents, may help shape their child’s development and better set them up for longer-term success.”
Kids are often thrilled and puzzled by the things they see and experience in their new-found world, and as their eyes capture and save images or memories, they sort for loving adults to explain and help them understand the things they see and experience. Therefore they shouldn’t be disappointed or made to think that their thoughts are invaluable or unimportant. Rather parents and adults around them should help ease this curiosity which gives them a sense of value and respect.
We may not know, but ignoring a child at a moment of curiosity may lead to poor self-esteem, which can be portrayed through extreme shyness, lack of confidence and inability to ask questions. Traceable to the inadequate effort from parents or caregivers to shape that child’s image and give them a sense of self-worth at an early stage. According to Dr Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D., a New York State licensed clinical psychologist, a person’s low self-esteem can be traced to their history and primary caregiver relationships which often shape their opinion of themselves.
While the child struggle with these effects later in life, most parents are often unaware or indisposed to help them overcome the pains that come with these periods, except there is an intervention of a third party, e.g. a teacher, relative, friend or even a stranger, the child may struggle with it forever.
However, what most parents or caregiver do not know is that “by encouraging children to ask questions about what they see or experience, we are helping them take their early, very important steps to gain some sense of control over life,”
“We are helping establish a pattern of questioning that they will carry with them through their lives, through school, through jobs, through their relationships and interactions with others,” Bill Zimmerman explains.
Research has shown that the more motivated kids are to learn in their early lives, the more likely they will be successful later. Kids who receive adequate answers to their questions or attention at the curiosity stages of their lives grow up smart, outspoken and confident.
Your child may not get all the attention they want from you every time that they seek it, but endeavour to be available and willing to help at moments when they are bugged with curiosity, trying to add up things in order to gain a better understanding.
A recent paper in Developmental Review that examined question-asking in childhood suggested that inane questions from kids are genuine acts of seeking information, especially if they are not confident in their own knowledge.
In given kids answers to their questions, Dr Neha Chaudhary opines that parents should give answers in a way that leaves a child feeling satisfied and motivated to ask more questions.
For example, she said; “if your child asks why we have bedtimes, rather than saying, “Because I said so,” tell them, “Because the body needs to rest and heal to grow strong.”
Thoughtful answers help a child reconcile new experiences while sending the larger message that curiosity and learning are welcome, Dr Chaudhary adds.
Parents are responsible for shaping their child’s development in a way that no one else can, and thoughtful parenting is the best gift any child can receive from their parent. Attention from parents is very rewarding for children.
Therefore, it is expedient for parents to seek expert’s opinions on how to respond to kids and what to do when you don’t have a perfect answer. Also, ensure to display passion and willingness whenever a question is thrown at you from your child.