Reply To: Questioning, Conversation Behaviors causing problems

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From my own and my family’s experience, it looks to me like your daughter is suffering from anxiety coupled with a tendency to think out loud. Severe anxiety can really make the brain go blank, so yes, she might hear but not be able to use the answer because it doesn’t have the right emotional emphasis to break though her brain freeze. However, if somebody is getting really irritated by repeated or “dumb” questions and this strong emotion seeps into their voice, suddenly the answer get through. You know how you tell an ADHD kid to stop bouncing and they ignore you, and suddenly you lose the temper and yell and then they stop? And they don’t seem to have any awareness you said anything before although if pressed they will admit to hearing you? Basically it’s the same mechanism where the brain is stuck and can’t change the page.

When a kid asks a “dumb” or repeated question, what works best for me is to help them think it through. So I would ask “Why are you asking?” or “Why is finding out <x> important?”. You might have to go several levels deep until something clicks. This exercise also helps them learn to do some internal processing which is necessary for asking more targeted questions that are likely to give them the answers they seek without needing an emotional charge behind it.

Here are some resources that might be helpful: the book “Outsmarting Worry” targeted to kids (, and GoZen (, a website with programs for kids’ mental well being and a very interesting blog.