The Power of Questions:
Every now and then I’m reminded about how I need to give my son’s choices.
Choices that I can live with. Not any old choice.
I eagerly absorbed the principles and practices of Love and Logic, after attending a course in 2004. The power of choice seemed like a really good idea. I felt I was ahead of the curve. It worked.
Our next child threw us the curve ball and now we looked at 123 Magic. We now had a mix of ideas. I was glad for the different ideas as it made me think. There you go made me think so I needed to make sure that if I wanted to raise thinking children I needed to give them opportunities to make them think.
This is not new. None of us like to be told what to do all the time. However in our time pressured society we just don’t have the time, usually to give choices. I’ve talked about our walk to Nursery and how I needed to slow down and effectively smell the coffee. Today I want to talk about how the power of questions can really change your children’s outlook.
The biggest battle of wills
They don’t want to do or have what you are offering because you are only telling them. With their new voice, No is the best word in the world. They see the power. We need to give them chance to say, Yes!
Love and Logic, if I remember rightly, encourage as many choices as you can. We never thought that made total sense for our family.Partly because we’re just not able to think of at least two choices for everything we want to do at the time. You have to think carefully.
Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt here?
Neither shirt is a problem to you.
They are more playful when they feel like they’ve had a say in their environment. So are we. It involved a change of mindset for us to think this way constantly.
Oatmeal or cereal? OJ or milk? This book or that book?
Learning can be either passive or active. Passive learning is when the parent is responsible for all learning conditions. Parents direct and children comply. Passive learning is easier for parents to do than active learning, but less beneficial for children….. Active learning is not only more exciting for children but usually results in better intellectual development
It starts simply with things like choosing which socks, and even this can seem like a hassle but they really love it. It’s part of the power we can give away. It continues with choices about food and learning how to express preference clearly and nicely, whether they be negative, neutral or positive. It continues with dinner games and question cards and leads to full discussions and learning about our children.
Communicating our values
Values are communicated and if we don’t’ hear what our children are thinking we have no chance of communicating our values to them in a way that they’ll be able to take on new information and make good choices about to do with these thoughts. I’m sure you’ve had the experience that what came out of your mouth was alien to what you thought you’d ever really say or even believe. But in the saying you realized it and perhaps changed or did something about it.
Yesterday we were reviewing our chore list for the umpteenth time. I want it to work. They want it to work. It breaks down regularly. After listening to a show about entitlement I decided to battle the chore problem yet again.
This time I added a time element….. It boiled down to having three chores and them deciding when to do them. Immediately they both sussed they didn’t need to do each chore each day. They had to decide when they would do it, how often etc. They asked me a lot of questions. Do I expect they will be perfect? No. But here’s a great opportunity to try out their decision-making process.
Last evening, over dinner, I asked how their chores went for the day. Proudly the oldest gave me his reasoning of why he’s decided to do his that way. His middle brother was listening. The middle one gave his very different version. I was able to ask how did it work for you? ( In true Dr Phil fashion!) We had an interesting dialogue about the struggles and they asked and each gave different answers.
Decision- making and the power of questions
At that moment, for the briefest of time, it didn’t matter if they had done the chores. Here they were actively discussing decision-making; the pitfalls of their brother’s ideas and congratulating them on what they did. I loved the process. The chores, to be honest were executed pretty well but they are a long work in progress.
It’s not always like this but I really believe the foundation of choices and active learning helps them to make decisions. They know we have each others back and we’re not afraid with our advice if we’re not sure.
How do you translate the power of questions into your family?
Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.
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