Thursday, December 8, 2011

Asking the Right Questions

Have you ever been completely at a loss and bewildered at something that your child has done? First let me just say that you are not alone and if you need to weep on someone's shoulder, we have operators standing by. Secondly, something I have been learning lately that may be a helpful tool for you, is making sure that instead of switching into the disciplinarian role, I stay in the teacher role. I do this by asking two very important and strategic questions. Why and what's next?

Often times when someone acts or says something that is against our values or expectations our first response is to react and ask something like, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU THINKING!" or "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!" Although these questions sometimes get answered, it doesn't really satisfy what we're trying to ask and the conclusion or changed behavior we want the other person to come to. It's kind of like trying to kill a tree by clipping off all the leaves. Although you may see some change in the tree, it is never really effective in changing the tree's behavior - the leaves come back next year. However, if you go for the tree's roots, it changes the "leaf growing" behavior extremely.

In the same way, when we ask, "what did you do," we're not actually targeting the root of the issue. When we ask "why did you just make that decision," we can approach the issue in the teacher role and help the child understand why they made that decision, why they are suffering the consequences, and how to make the right decision the next time.

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