Ask Andrew: Facing The "I Don't Knows"

emotional intelligence 

By Andrew Patterson

Ask Andrew: Facing The "I Don't Knows"

Today Andrew answers: I ask my daughter something and she replies “I don’t know” even if it is a matter of clear opinion. Like … “Shall we get ice cream? … Why is that?” After I reframe the questions she suddenly knows.

Hi! I’m Andrew from Generation Mindful's newest recurring weekly feature, Ask Andrew. In Ask Andrew, I’ll be taking any and all questions regarding the autism spectrum with particular emphasis on childhood development as an authentic autistic adult. Let’s get started!

For our sixth Q and A, you can watch the video and/or read my response below.

Thank you so much for your question, Tuija! I’ve never been to Finland myself, but I’ve heard it's lovely. The answer for your issue is within the question itself. If rephrasing is what ultimately works, have your goal going forward to be developing your own method of questioning. Consider previous examples where this worked, and go from there.

As for the reason this happens, children around the age of your daughter tend to be used to having a lot (if not all) of their choices being made for them. As such, when given the opportunity to contribute an opinion, they are often caught off guard, and as such, contribute, “I don’t know.”

This is not uncommon at all. Children are naturally curious and all of them go through phases of testing their boundaries around them ... especially in regards to questions that may seem obvious to us adults but are new to them. For instance, at the traffic light, the red light means stop, the yellow light means slow, and the green light means go. 

It is worth noting I am not aware of any other variations of traffic light patterns in other countries, and would be intrigued to hear from international Ask Andrew readers if this is the case around the world.

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