The One Word Teachers and Parents Should Avoid

Be cautious of “Why?” questions. Asking, “Why?” is one of the most frequently used and ineffective questions. It not only has an accusatory overtone, but it also blocks communications because it prompts negative feelings. Let’s prove the point. Say the following question aloud so you can hear yourself:

“Why are you doing that?”

Notice that when you asked this question, your voice pitch rose higher and your volume increased. Also, notice the effect on your emotions when you asked, this “Why?” question.

Now, say the following aloud so you can hear yourself:

“What do you think we should do now?”

Notice that the emotional aspect was reduced because the aim was toward a resolution rather than on the cause. The cause could have merely been a mistake or an accident—something that happens to adults as well as to young people.

If you believe it was a mistake, you will address the problem differently than if you had believed that the person intentionally did something hurtful.