Why did you do that?!

When your children misbehave, it can be tempting to ask why they did it. The question itself leads the child to thinking about an excuse for their behavior.
  • “Why did you hit him?”
  • “Why did you push her?”
  • “Why did you grab that shovel out of his hands?”
However, an unacceptable behavior is always unacceptable regardless of the reason. Good explanations do not provide a free ticket for poor behavior.

Rather than asking children why they behaved in a certain way, describe the results of the behavior and discuss how to make amends. In the example where the shovel was grabbed, you might say “You grabbed the shovel out of his hands and now he’s crying. What do you think you can do to make him feel better?”

Younger children will need more guidance in figuring out how to share or express their feelings without hitting or pushing. Teaching them these skills will serve them better than asking them why they did it.

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