Why explaining “WHY” is so important when praising & disciplining your kids

Statements such as, “Great Job!” and “Don’t do that!” are used frequently by fathers as a way to offer positive and negative feedback respectively to their kids.

What’s not offered as frequently are explanations of WHY it was such a “great job” or WHY our kids “shouldn’t do that.”

While the quick statements help condition your child to know what’s right from wrong, the explanations are golden opportunities to teach your kids important values and lessons in life!


• Take the time to explain. In our busy world, it’s natural to get in the habit of offering these quick conditioning statements and moving on. Take the time to offer more substantive explanations. It’s important!

• Engage your child in the learning process. Ask your child to reflect on his/her behavior: “Do you know why that was so good of you to do?” Or, “Why do you think Daddy doesn’t want you to do that?”

• Physically emphasize the importance of this teaching moment. Stop what you’re doing, get down to eye level with your child, gently hold his/her hand, and maintain eye contact while giving your explanation. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Your body language and eyes determine a level of seriousness and importance that your words alone can’t reach.

Kids often surprise us with just how much they actually know and remember. Young kids are especially wide-eyed and impressionable. Fathers can play a very important role in shaping their child’s character by deliberately and consistently involving their children in meaningful reflection on their behavior — both good and bad!

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or