Sounds crazy, right? I mean, we’re always telling our kids that there are no stupid questions, and they should ask for help. And that’s true — most of the time.
But sometimes, our kids’ questions (and ours) are not born of curiosity. They are coming from anxiety. Usually, it’s one of two scenarios:
- They are afraid that they don’t really understand what’s expected of them, so they continue to ask questions to make sure they don’t understand it ‘wrong.’
- They are stressed by the need to turn their focus on something new, so they ease the stress by trying to get every possible scenario answered, effectively helping them get started.
I know this intimately, because I was guilty of using questions as a coping strategy for years! By asking “clarifying” questions, I was calming my anxiety.
As parents, start by helping your kids, and slowly begin to teach them to trust their ability to figure things out and get started. Acknowledge their concerns, and help them see they actually have many of the answers to the questions they’re asking. Of course, you don’t want to make them feel stupid in the process. But you DO want to empower them to figure things out independently.