In my latest video I share the one secret game-changing idea that will transform how you parent and enhance the relationship you have with your child. This simple idea knocks out all the frustrations I consistently hear about from parents who say their kids don't share their feelings or talk to them enough. It's an easy way in which parents get more input from their children with a lot less stress.
As you can see from the video, asking inspired questions and carefully crafting follow-up questions is key to dynamic communication. Parents need to be intuitive with their approaches while raising children and, as they stay flexible, build trusting, loving connections. The parent-child relationship is unique and requires a conscious exchange of understanding and guidance. Parents who interact using intuition as they remain adaptable gain the most traction and, often have an accurate pulse on how well their child navigates life.
You may be wondering what the intention behind asking inspired questions is. This type of inquiry elicits reflection and stirs up really juicy exchanges that point in a very different direction from predictable yes/no questions. This style of interaction respectfully opens up the lines of communication in order to build a foundation of love and trust. It is an excellent practice that allows your child to feel heard and understood for his or her unique ideas. When threaded regularly into daily interactions, inspired questions propel children into being independent, confident people and provide parents great insight.
So, what do inspired questions actually sound like? Instead of the "How was your day?" question, inspired questions are open-ended and often examine relevant subjects or current issues. An example is, "What are your thoughts about all students having to attend the meeting tomorrow?" This question opens up the dialogue in a thought-provoking, non-leading manner. Following these types of questions children need ample time to think about their opinions. This helps them sort through their beliefs and deliver authentic responses as well as bring forth the opportunity for a deeper exchange of ideas.
If we tell children how to feel rather than allowing them the space to figure things out for themselves they'll never learn how to think for themselves. The purpose of inspired questions is to consciously guide them in thinking, feeling, and experimenting with their own ideas and solutions. By providing children expansive room for them to reflect and process thoughts, they will eventually learn how to listen to their own inner knowing and ultimately be steered in the right direction.
It's never too late to start asking inspired questions. Timing is everything. So, start by figuring out the best time to begin. It's so much easier to get to know what your child is thinking and how they process their experiences when they are willing to talk rather than dragging information out of them, word for word. Take advantage of the moments of opportunity when they are ready to share. This may not come at the most convenient times for you in the beginning, and that's okay. Once you build trust and openness your child will feel more comfortable speaking with you most any time.
The idea of asking inspired questions and follow-ups takes a bit more planning and consideration at first. Take notice of the rhythm of their expressiveness. It may be right before they go to bed or in the car as you're driving. Be less concerned with "teaching" them and more focused on listening. That which they share and believe must be acknowledged and respected. Children who feel as though they are being misunderstood or judged will shut down and be less likely to voice their individual opinions. More often than not, if a child is given the proper time and space they tend to figure out what is best for their own situations at hand.
In my experience both as a teacher and parent this approach is a game-changer. It's a beautiful exploratory practice that helps end the frustration of one-word responses which lack substance and guides individuals toward developing more intimate connections with others. Children who have adults around them who ask inspired questions develop a better sense of self and, are able to recognize themselves as independent thinkers. These interactions lead them through life and help them learn how to make decisions for themselves. The best questions teach children to think for themselves and help them process their own ideas, ultimately enhancing the experiences and relationships they form throughout their lives.