10 Ways to Stop the “But Why?” Conversation

Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, you are probably dealing with “but why” on a regular basis. 

Toddlers ask because they’re curious, and teens just want to know why they aren’t getting their way.

Here are some comebacks that may save you hours responding to the never ending question.

asking questions

1. Why Do You Think?

For toddlers, this will give them the opportunity to come up with the answer on their own. Something they will probably enjoy thinking.

For teenagers, it will cause them to think of all the reasons they’re not getting their way and assume one of them is the reason they are being shut down.

2. Because I Said So

This isn’t a great way to encourage curiosity in your toddler, but if they’ve asked why to every single explanation you can think of and the conversation has gone on longer than an hour, you might resort to this one.

3. Hmmm I’ll Have to Think About that

This allows you to have a minute to collect your thoughts and think of an answer to your toddler or teenager.

It also may give you a few seconds to tone down your frustration and continue the conversation.

4. Because Aliens Don’t Wear Pink

It may sound crazy but answering the question with nonsense may just cause your toddler to argue with you and make their answer.

For a teenager, it gives them nothing that they can debate or argue, and it ends the conversation.

5. Ask For a Sentence

This is more geared toward toddlers but one way to help with endless why questions are not to accept why. Tell your child that their question needs to be a full sentence. This causes the child to think really about what they are asking. It may also help with teenagers to elaborate their position.

6. Give Long Answers

If you give long answers every time your child asks why they are less likely to keep asking.

For toddlers asking why is typically just a request to keep talking together and giving them a long answer satisfies this. It also wears down the short attention spans of teenagers.

7. Respond with a Question

When you get asked why to respond with the answer and a question of your own.

It requires the child to do some critical thinking and if they keep asking why just keep asking questions of your own and it will stop.

8. One Word Answer

Another method that may work for toddlers is to provide the simplest explanation possible that doesn’t leave open the possibility of a why question. You can have words like biology, genetics, history, habit, science and so forth.

When your child keeps asking why just give them the one-word answer that best fits the question.

9. I Don’t Know, Let’s Look it up

This will never work with a teenager, but it is suitable for a toddler.

It lets them know that even you don’t know everything and that you can learn to. You can let your child know that you can always find the answers to their questions with a little bit of research.

10. Let’s Draw it To Find Out

Again not an option for an older child but for younger children this works great.

If your child keeps asking why questions you can ask them to draw a picture of what they are asking about.

Do have you developed your set of “but why” answers? Leave a comment below!

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