Why Will My Daughter Never Answer This Question?

Cute Little Girl In Library.

My daughter has been in first grade for four weeks and I have had it. I’m done. From this day forward, I will never ask that dreaded question again: “What did you do today in school?” You know why—because it is a worthless question to ask a 6.5-year-old. The answer is always the same: “I don’t remember.” She smiles and appears happy and content, so I make the assumption that all is well and move on.

Now, I have tried other tactics, such as asking, “What was the funniest thing that happened today?” or, “Tell me about what you made in art today,” but those leading questions usually do not produce any more fruitful answers. Instead I hear about the boy who threw up and the girl who tackled her at recess (all in fun, of course). That’s it. I have no idea what else my daughter is doing for those seven hours of her day. I guess, assume, and see her work via papers she brings home and emails from her attentive teacher, but there is nothing that emanates directly from my happy little girl.

My daughter is not a quiet and introverted person; she actually doesn’t stop talking much of the time. Her long orations, though, do not include much information about her school day and are more about her secret superhero powers and her knowledge of pop songs. Unfortunately with all of her lengthy discourses about her secret power to fly and her singing all of the words to Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” there are still no actual facts, stories, or details about her time at school.

I’m not greedy in terms of the information I would like to hear from my daughter. I’d just like to hear tidbits describing a math problem that she had trouble with but tried her best, or what she read with her eighth grade reading buddy. I could ask her teacher, of course, but I think it is important to hear it directly from her. It is her experience that I want to know about. I don’t have any real concerns, I simply want to hear how she tackles her day at school. In a way, I’d like her to feel proud enough of her learning, dealing with any social issues, and anything else that she experiences at school where she would want to report some key points of her day.

I know other parents who are in the same boat as me, so I am proposing a revolution. It is a revolution against our kids’ lack of details about their day at school. Let’s use reverse psychology and simply shut our mouths when we see our kids after school. Give them a hug and kiss hello and just walk away. No questioning, no leading statements in order to gather data about their day. It’s time to let it go!

As we do this, it will be interesting to see if the kids notice or care. My thinking is that for those few kids who never answered these expected questions before will be intrigued enough to actually offer the information without the prompt. If we stay silent at the end of the school day, then perhaps the kids will feel a sense of loss and will then volunteer more details of their day in order to get more attention from us.

We must stick together and remain strong. We can be revolutionary parents and alter the course of our children’s day for years to come! No more, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t remember.” Those responses will become things of the past. As a result of our revolution, we will begin to hear about solved math problems and mastered reading comprehension skills. We can do it. We will win this revolution and we will all be happier and more informed for it. Stay strong.

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Risa Sugarman

Risa is mommy to a fabulous 6-year-old girl and wife to an amazing husband. She has lived in Boston, New York City, and now lives in Central CT. She has an MSW from Fordham University and a BA from Columbia University. She was featured in Women's Health Magazine's May 2016 issue regarding mental health and was a panelist on AOL Build discussing the effects of stigma on those with mental illness. She has written for Huffington Post, Psych Central, Keshet, The Mighty, Bring Change 2 Mind and Stigma Fighters and on her own blog,

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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