I always enjoy Jim Fay’s e-newsletters. He always does a great job getting to the point quickly. I’m running Jim’s latest blog post below, because it resonates with people of all ages.
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?
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