View Full Version : How do you deal with the "I don't know why" answers?

08-20-2016, 03:18 PM
"I don't know why" seems to be DD's go-to response when she's done something wrong. In the case of today, I found a large bag of macaroni spilled all over one of the cupboards. It's not near other food that she would have been getting, so it wasn't an accidental spill while getting something else. I ask why. She says she doesn't know why.

DH "demands" a why. I know it's pointless, but I still (somewhat stupidly, I'll admit) ask her why anyway. "It was an accident while I was doing x" would be fine if truthful.

She has ADHD and new meds are working better, but I think this was done within this last week, when she was already on new med.

So, if you have a "I don't know" kid, how do you deal with it?

08-20-2016, 03:32 PM
It could be a number of things. Processing speed. Not wanting to get into trouble. I'd script it for her and see she will say it. I do t get too caught up in why but will let a kid explain if they want to.

08-20-2016, 05:54 PM
I guess I wouldn't worry that much about why, but I would just make sure the reasons why she won't do it again (consequences) are very clear. For the macaroni I would have her clean it up and use her money to buy a new box.

08-20-2016, 06:19 PM
That's a classic kid answer and x10000 with an ADHD kid. If she knew why, she likely wouldn't have done it. Is he expecting her to say she did it on purpose to make him angry? Does he want you to demand explanations of why he makes an error? He needs to change his expectations and just tell her to fix it instead. If you want to google, you can find many articles on why asking why is pointless in parenting.

08-20-2016, 07:48 PM
I agree with focusing less on 'why' and more on righting the wrong (cleaning up, paying for it, whatever).

08-21-2016, 07:31 AM
If she knew why, she likely wouldn't have done it.

I've realized this exact thing with my DD. It drives me crazy (why in the world would you do something like that without a reason???) but I really think she does things without thinking about it and truly doesn't have a "why" most of the time. Like you, I can't stop myself from asking it often (it just comes out -- I'm baffled sometimes!) but I don't make it an issue and just move on to discussing why it wasn't a good thing to do/what we need to do to fix the situation now.

08-21-2016, 08:15 AM
I got that answer as a repsonse to my 7yo son cutting a 3" square hole in his brand new Lands End sheets, then outlining the hole in marker. I know it's pointless to ask why... But sometimes I can't help it!

08-22-2016, 11:02 AM
DD does stuff at least once a day that makes me wonder what she is thinking. Very developmentally appropriate if extremely frustrating. Remember at this age the "Go" pedal in their brain is much larger than the "Stop and think" brake!!

In most cases I don't ask why, rather we talk briefly about how she could have done things differently and then figure out how she's going to resolve it. Some things can't be repaired, and in that case she gives me a token amount of money to go towards what I spent on the item. That's the best, IMO, that we can do at this age- this is something they're going to have to grow out of as their brains develop.