Katniss Life Lessons
Trying to figure this out
Why is a silly question
Our first impulse when we learn of something wrong that a child has done is to ask him why he did it. What are we hoping to get out of the answer?
First we are trying to satisfy our own need to feel better—to reduce our feelings of anger, despair, disappointment, even betrayal, that our child could have behaved this way. We see it as a reflection on the job we’re doing. So if the child can give a good enough reason, we’ll be able to feel better towards him and believe that he’s really a good kid.
Second we’re looking for some way of working out what we can do to make sure he learns from this incident and doesn’t do it again. The problem with this aim is that often the child will find a reason that excuses his behavior and blames the circumstances or someone else. It’s not often that we can work out what to do from his excuse, because the only factor we have immediate prospect of changing is the child’s own behavior. All his excuses could be true, but they help at all in fixing things up