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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I wonder what she's thinking about...
We spend a lot of time telling our kids what to do, correcting them, disciplining them, giving them directions.  Have you thought about ASKING them questions periodically to see what they're thinking about, if they understand what you're telling them to do, or just to get their opinion?  I think we sometimes forget that our children are people with their own thoughts and opinions.  It can be very illuminating to get a glimpse into their minds.   A caution...asking too many questions though can sound like interrogation so be careful about coming across too strong.  Try to keep your voice neutral and listen without judgment so your child will be comfortable expressing herself.

Here are some examples...
The family is watching a TV show and the characters are making some bad decisions.  Instead of telling the kids that what they're watching is wrong, try asking them what they think of the character's actions.  Engage in some dialogue with them, if possible.  Not in a preachy way but to get an idea of where their thoughts and values are.

You are with your daughter at a store and you see a teenager with multiple piercings and tattoos.  You ask your daughter what she thinks of body decoration.  It might open a discussion about what is appropriate and why.

Your son is fighting against some of the rules of the house.  You ask him why he thinks you (the parents) set those rules.  You ask him what he would do if HIS kid broke rules.

You are trying to give instructions to your child who doesn't appear to be listening.  Asking him to tell you what you said will help you determine if he understood or needs some extra instruction.

By asking occasional questions, you will get an idea of what your child is thinking.  You will show him that you care about his opinion.    Questions can also serve to help your child develop her thinking and listening skills and learn how to vocalize and defend her opinions.  Useful skills!


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