The Why Factor
"BECAUSE I SAID SO!"
Any parent who can honestly say that they have never used those words is either a liar or on the fast track to Sainthood.
Nature is cruel. The "why" phase starts when Moms and Dads are at their most vulnerable. This is inevitably when we are exhausted as our little darlings have not yet learned that 8 hours sleep a night is desirable; our precious possessions are being systematically destroyed as we lose the race to childproof our homes; Moms if they are fortunate enough to stay at home are grieving the loss of careers and freedom and Dads are wondering how the heck they are going to earn enough to feed an extra mouth on one salary instead of two.
For most Moms, staying home is not an option so there is the added burden of trying to be wife, mother, domestic worker and crust earner too.
The first couple of "Why" questions rapidly become a game for the toddler who revels in the reactions from Mom and Dad. Manipulation is one of the first achievements of many children.
Fast forward to primary school. A teacher now has 30+ children in her class. There is no time to answer all of the "why" questions. Inevitably those children who persist are labelled, "nuisances, disruptive, smart alecks ...." Sit still and listen. It is not the teacher's fault. S/he has no choice. The curriculum is there as are the tests.
A few years later those youngsters who have not learned NOT to ask the "Why" question start haranguing their parents. "Why can't I date, why can't I watch this movie, play this video game, go to this event?"
"BECAUSE I SAID SO! Do you not remember what I told you when you were 3 years old? Do as I say, do not give me backchat or question my decisions. I am the adult and I know best. Finish and KLAAR!"
OK perhaps there are a growing number of enlightened parents and teachers out there who do make the effort to engage more appropriately with their children but there are many who don't. Parenting is tough and we frequently parent our children the way we were parented.
What does this have to do with my ADHD Coaching Journey?
Whether ADHD is present or not many of us have had the "Why" knocked out of us. We follow a particular religion or culture because it is all we know, we enter a career because our mothers or fathers were doctors, plumbers, lawyers, bookkeepers, teachers etc. We get married because our friends are getting married and it is the "right time". We have never learned to challenge our ingrained beliefs that we have learned as children.
I had never learned to question my actions and beliefs and the pattern my life had taken reflected this weakness. Multiple jobs, failed relationships, inability to say No etc.
Much of my ADHD Coaching involved me having to ask myself "Why". The one proviso was that I could never allude to, or blame, the past. This includes yesterday. The past doesn't exist except in the way you remember it, which is no doubt tainted with filters we have created over the years.
Asking Why is a great exercise for each of us. Of course there are some things we can't change, but we can change how we deal with them as we work towards a better future.
- Why am I doing this job?
- Why am I running this business?
- Why am I studying this course?
- Why am I in a relationship that is toxic? Family and/or friends.
- Why do I hold these political or religious beliefs?
- Why am I having money problems?
- Why am I battling to discipline my children?
- Why do I have no time for myself?
- Why am I so angry?
- Why am I harbouring these grudges?
Before making any decision we need to ask lots of questions. It slows down our impulsivity and gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we are doing and of course WHY we are doing it.
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