Why are You Here?

Apr 05

Why are You Here?

WHY ARE YOU HERE? This girl looks like she knows exactly why she’s here, and is proud of it!  She would have no trouble, I’m sure, telling you and taking whatever punishment is  meted out by the principal or her parents for fighting.

Most kids are not so honest with themselves. “Why are you here?” is a powerful question parents need to add to their repertoire. It’s a refreshing change from lecturing, yelling, ignoring or pleading with their child to “understand” what they did wrong, none of which work, by the way.

It’s very simple and works like this.

Child does something against the rules: unkind, didn’t clean their room, played with knives, climbed the rain gutter, teased the dog, ate the cake before the party…

You, in a voice surprisingly devoid of anger, frustration or panic, call them over and bench them.  Make them sit in a very specific place by themselves.  Tree stump, kitchen chair, whatever’s handy.  Then you ask them the simple, powerful question…”Why are you here?”

The child, in a voice several octaves higher than usual, wide-eyed and aghast at being falsely accused, will typically begin like this…”…Well, it’s because  SHE or HE…” or “I didn’t do anything…SHE or HE did THIS or THAT…”  or “It was late and I was really tired, and I couldn’t…”  Dissolving into tears is their next strategy, if you will not succumb to reason.

Your turn.

The moment something comes out of their mouth other than “I did ________.” cut them off with a talk-to-the-hand gesture and say, “Stay here, I’ll be back.”

Give them time to stew in their own juices, then come back.   Ask them again.

“Why are you here?”

Eventually, the kid will break and focus on what he or she did or did not do.  Discuss how to not let others influence you, or how to make better choices.  Apply natural consequences. Release child from kid jail.  Problem solved.

Works like a CHARM!  It teaches children to accept responsibility for their own actions.

Every now and then I ask myself this powerful, simple question.  Sometimes I’m happy with my answer. In fact, sometimes I’m downright pleased with myself! I completed my degree!  I have loving relationships because I give love,too. I can zip my jeans because I got my butt into the pool several times a week for a few weeks, even when it was cold out. Sometimes I’m not as happy with where I am and how I got there.

In that case, I don’t waste time looking out.  The answer to “Why am I Here?” is always answered from within.  That said, that doesn’t mean it’s always our fault if we are unjustly treated, attacked, get cancer, or squashed by a falling rock.  Bad things happen to good people, as we all know.  But most of my life is within my control, and we owe it to our children, and ourselves, to teach them this simple truth.


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