The “Why are you doing that?” Hat

Have you ever been asked “WHY?” you’re doing something? 

We don’t like that very much when it comes to what we’re doing because we normally assume the best about ourselves and not the best (worst) about people we’re in conflict with. 

We can go for years sometimes repeating the same patterns and getting the same results without ever looking to the root cause of it all. It’s pretty normal in our culture. “My problems are the product of… YOUR choices”. 

Today’s blog is specifically about parenting kids in our homes but the topic is equally applicable to business, finance, conflict in general anywhere you find it. “Why should I read it?” you may be asking… excellent question:)

If your company asks about the Why? behind the behaviour of the employees, you will make more money. Happy? 

I see a trend in many homes today due to anything from parental insecurity to lack of skill or knowledge, where children are being raised without being asked the question “Why? Why did you take that away from your brother? Why did you pull your sister’s hair? Why were you disrespectful to your mom?” Too often mom and dad want to be friends with their kids before their kids are adults. Constantly seeking approval from children is not healthy and it’s not even something they should be expected to give you. Why? They’re children, not peers. It’s kind of creepy actually.

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I know you’d die for your kids, but would you improve for them?

My dad was fairly old school but there was no home I would rather have grown up in. Just thinking of how he was so NOT the helicopter parent of today and so could have cared less if I “approved” of bed time or anything else amuses me. He always loved us no matter what but he rarely bailed us out of trouble we got ourselves into…mostly trouble I got myself into now that I think about it.. Break the neighbour’s window, pay for the neighbours window! Good life lessons.

Mom and dad taught me to always ask Why?   No matter what was happening it was expected of me at a young age to understand my motives and the undercurrent for my actions. Results occur for a reason. Know the reason why! 

As a parent I find it easier to say “Don’t pull your sister’s hair!” than say “Why did you pull your sister’s hair? (and don’t pull your sister’s hair!)” There is a reason she committed that act, she needs to recognize what it is and understand that whatever it is is no excuse to pull hair, and deal with her own attitude before her actions crop up next time. There is a decent channel if her sister misbehaves but immediate judgement is not her personal option. “Come tell mom or dad and we’ll deal with her.”

Attitudes are harder to nail down and much more difficult to discipline, but crucial for the training of your child. 

Or your employee. Or yourself.

In every conflict we get upset because we haven’t gotten something we want. I know that’s not what I normally say, but it’s the truth. When I realize what that is, I actually have to convey what it is I feel like I haven’t received from them/the situation in an intelligent and safe manner. Looks good on paper but…

We all get stuck. Patterns. I know you’d tell me it’s his fault (and it might be) but what part of all of this are you owning? You can’t control what he does anyways so you might as well work on YOU

We’ve all had those “AHA!” moments when a trigger or key has been turned in a touchy relationship and you saw the world through different eyes. Everything change. But we get stuck. 

Did you know that when you are in physical danger you actually lose your peripheral vision? Have you ever been in a car accident? Your key brain functions actually stop working the way they should and everything focuses on what’s right in front of you. When you feel threatened or unsafe you don’t look up to see what’s coming and think the way you normally do.

Did I just described your marriage? Your relationship with your teenage daughter? I get the same way. We are notoriously stubborn in attempting to solve problems the same way we did it last time, whether it even worked for us or not! I know it sounds silly but we do it all the time. Then your personality will tell you “FIGHT” or “FLIGHT”! There’s a terrific book called Crucial Conversations that you should read about conflict resolution, it’s worked wonders in my own life.

If you’ve read the bible you may know that King David was an amazing guy on so many levels, what you may not know was that he wasn’t the best father. One son murdered his other son and tried to murder him and take over the country (costing 20,000 good men their lives) and another son rose up years later and tried to do the same. David had promised the kingdom in his later years to Solomon, whom you may have heard of, but for some reason he just couldn’t ACT and put Solomon in power when he should have. One of Solomon’s older half brothers Adonijah then started a takeover and modelled a lot of it after what had already taken place before in the civil war that had cost all those lives and the life of Absalom, David’s son.

There’s a curious passage that says Kind David “had never disciplined him (Adonijah) at any time, even by asking “Why are you doing that?”

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Most of the time as a parent I wear the “You’re doing great!” Hat. I always wear the “I love you!” Hat. There are times that I pick up the “Why are you doing that?” Hat.

Adonijah spent his entire childhood with a father who was too fearful or busy to put that hat on. Never at any time had he even been forced to ask the question behind his actions! Believe me that it’s easier to learn that lesson sheltered in your home than it is out there in the real world. Though the latter rebellion was put down before Adonijah’s life was taken from him, his own brother Solomon brought judgement to him when he made a veiled bid at the throne through Solomon’s own mother! But why would he think he couldn’t have everything he wanted whenever he wanted it, his own dad didn’t have the guts or skill to stand up to him?

Don’t wait until your business is bankrupt to start asking why you do things the way you do them. 

Don’t wait until life teaches your children they can’t have everything they want whenever they want it. It’s a sad thing for an adult to destroy everything they hold dear and try to blame everyone but themselves for it. It is likely that they were not in the habit of understanding why they did what they did. 

If you are responsible, you need to wear the “Why are you doing that?” Hat sometimes.

It’s probably easier if you try it in a mirror first….



5 thoughts on “The “Why are you doing that?” Hat

  1. Excellent food for thought, I always love reading your blogs!

    “There is a decent channel if her sister misbehaves but immediate judgement is not her personal option. “Come tell mom or dad and we’ll deal with her.””

    This phrase kind of confuses me, what do you mean by it all?


    1. What I mean is that the one who decided to pull the hair would be better to pick the “I’m telling mom!!!” option if she felt her sister had done something to deserve it. Make sense?


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