Informed Families Blog

How The Five Whys Can Help You Become A More Efficient Parent

Posted by Informed Families on September 19, 2016 at 5:02 PM


A recent New York Times blog post, entitled “How Asking 5 Questions Allowed Me to Eat Dinner With My Kids” by Charles Duhigg, offers a surprisingly simple solution to many of the problems families face in the fast paced world we are living in. Specifically, Duhigg was struggling with the issue of wanting to eat dinner together with his family and finding it very difficult due to his family’s busy schedule.  In the blog, Duhigg offered a solution that helped him resolve this problem, called the “five whys.”

Duhigg, a journalist and author of two books on habits and productivity, suggests that parents examine why they can’t eat dinner with their children by asking “why” five times.

Solving The Problem With The "Five Whys"

  • Why 1 - The answer to the first why might be, “because they arrived home too late.”
  • Why 2 - When Duhigg and his wife asked themselves why they arrived home late, they realized it was because they had lots of “miscellaneous tasks” at work to complete.
  • Why 3 - When asked why they had so many of those tasks to complete, they realized it was because they arrived at work just before they had morning meetings and tasks kept building up throughout the day.
  • Why 4 – When asked why they arrived right before morning meetings (and not earlier), they discovered that getting the kids ready for school was taking too long.
  • Why 5 – They realized that the kids were taking too long to get ready and by preparing for it the night before, they were able to get to work earlier and solve their problem of being home too late and missing dinner.

Apply The "Five Whys" To Other Situations

Once this problem was solved, more time was discovered and the family now eats dinner together regularly. These five whys can be applied to almost any issue families face when trying to find time for parent/child engagement.

What other parenting challenges are you facing? Try the 5 Whys and let us know about your experience.



Topics: Family Day, family bonding, parents, family dinner

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We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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