I have been reading and re-reading these super helpful tips from a Love and Logic Insider’s Club email I’ve had in my inbox for weeks now. It’s such good information, I knew you would want to read it!
How can we make sure that our kids are doing their fair share of the thinking? How can we keep ourselves from getting pulled into working harder on their lives than they are? How can we help them become prepared for a world full of decisions and consequences?
Replace statements with questions.
Some of the most powerful moments come when we empower kids by asking them what they plan to do about various situations instead of telling them what they need to do. The implied message we send says, “You are smart. You can come up with the answer.” In my CD, Shaping Self-Concept, I teach that kids who are given this gift are far more likely to succeed in school and in life.
On top of that, the human brain has a hard time ignoring the questions it hears. It wants to search for the answers – it just can’t help itself. What a gift we give kids when we get them to think versus telling them what to do.
A child who is redirected with the question, “Are you sure this is the right place for that behavior?” will respond much better than the child who is told, “Stop that!” One method invites thinking; the other invites resistance and battles for control. Which do you prefer?
In either case, we are enticing young brains to do lots of thinking by simply asking questions rather than stating “how it is.” So, do your kids’ brains a favor and feed them a steady diet of questions. Won’t it be fun to see the smoke start rolling out of their ears?
I last wrote about the power of questions: how questions can actually divert the brain’s focus. A person who is thinking in one direction can suddenly find himself/herself thinking in a totally different direction when hit with a question.
An example of this happened when Jill said to her teacher, “Well, I wasn’t the only one throwing food.” Her teacher responded with empathy and a question, “Oh, this is sad. Where are you going to eat now that you can’t eat in the cafeteria any more?”
“Huh?” Jill’s brain, driven by nature to answer questions, had to switch gears and go off in a totally different direction.
Most things we say can be turned into a question, putting us in charge of the conversation. Here are some examples of changing orders or statements into questions:
Order: “You aren’t going to talk like that in this house.”
Question: “Is this the right place for that language? Thank you.”
Order: “If you don’t do your homework, you’re going to get a bad grade.”
Question: “What kind of grade do you think you’ll get without doing your homework?”
Order: “You are not going to drive if you drink.”
Question: “What do you think will happen to your driving privileges if I start worrying about you drinking?”
Order: “You guys better quit fighting over that remote control.”
Question: “Have you guys thought about what might happen to the remote if you keep fighting over it?”
Order: “Quit that bickering!”
Question: “Hey, guys, what do you think is going to happen if that doesn’t stop?”
Another example of using a question to change a situation happened when Dr. Charles Fay witnessed three young boys on the school bus becoming rowdy. A teacher told them to settle down. They didn’t. Dr. Fay went over to sit with them and asked, “Hey guys. Which one of those Pokemon figures spits fire?”
As you can guess, the entire scenario changed as these kids started answering and talking. No discipline was needed. A simple question made a huge change.
You can get Love and Logic’s Insider Club emails yourself by signing up on their website.
This is not a sponsored post. I’m just a L&L nerd who loves to share parenting strategies with other tired parents.