When Kids Ask, “Why Should I?”

“Sam clean your room before dinner” mom asks for the third time.   Sam responds in anger, “Why should I?” 

Mom in frustration yells back, “Because I told to.”    

Does this sound familiar?

Has your son or daughter responded to your request with, “Why should I?”

If so, you aren’t alone, because most kids will either think it quietly or ask it out loud and if we are real about it, adults often think the same thing when asked to do something they don’t want to do.    Yet we learn to do it because it’s the right thing to do, even if we aren’t happy about it.

No one likes to be interrupted or bothered, life is full of inconvenience, and we all are challenged as humans to put our selfish ways aside and give our time to others.    We know that doing the right thing helps us succeed in life and builds our character.     As we mature we desire to be diligent, disciplined, cooperative, and obedient with a good attitude.   Overtime we have learned that when we do the right thing we develop skills in honesty, talent, and relationships grow deeper.   The most important thing we learn is how to communicate, work with others, and build trust among those in or our family or team.   With the right response to this question, “Why should I?” we can help our kids mature to be responsible, thoughtful and caring.

Instead of getting defensive or offended when kids ask, “Why should I?”   You can simply put the question back on them and teach them to respond respectfully.

Let’s talk about Sam.  Sam responded wrong to mom.  Mom has been teaching him to respond with “Yes Mom.” and he knows better because life doesn’t move until he does so respectfully.

When Sam challenged mom with, “Why should I clean my room?”   Mom must request that her son stop what he is doing and think about it.

She needs to say, “Sam you need to clean your room, you will not move on with your day until that task is completed.  You need to think about the rules and why your room needs to be clean.”

We want Sam to slow down, control his anger, respond like he has been taught and respect mom.   Sam needs to consider what is going on inside of his heart and mom must ask questions to help him think about it. 

After Sam is calm down and ready to cooperate.   Mom and son need to discuss what happened.

Mom – “Sam what did you do wrong?”

Sam – “I didn’t clean up room when told to do so and I didn’t say “Yes Mom.”

Mom – “Sam why is that wrong?”

Sam –  “Our home is not a trash can and it doesn’t show respect towards you when I don’t do what I’m supposed to do.”

Mom- “What can you do next time?”

Sam – “Clean my room when I’m supposed to and say, “Yes Mom.”

Mom – “Yes Sam that is correct, and Why Should You? 

Sam – “I want to do the right thing in life because I’m growing into a responsible and respectful young man.”

This is the response we want from our kids and we help them get there by asking them, “Why do you think you should or shouldn’t do that?”     

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Lisa Brown

Lisa is an aspiring writer with a mother's passion for Homeschool Education and is also a Parent Coach. She has an 9 yr. old son, a 7 yr. old daughter, and has been married to her husband for 10+ yrs.Prior to marriage, she worked over 20 yrs. enriching the lives of hundreds of children and families. Lisa has a Bachelors in Social Work and Early Childhood Education.
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