So in previous posts I have discussed the importance of one on one quality time with your child. Quality time meaning no interruptions via TV, Ipads, Iphones, video games, and other technological distractions. In this post I will discuss concrete conversation starters for those times when you and your child are able to spend quality time together so that you have some tools to work with in case all you hear is crickets.
All you have to do is learn to ask your children the following questions, in the context of family, extended family, their friends, faith/spiritual community, school, school officials, or possibly work:
- 1. What are you a little AFRAID of when it comes to ______________?
- 2. What do you wish you could CHANGE about _______________?
- 3. What do you have a hard time UNDERSTANDING when it comes to _______________?
- 4. What are you most THANKFUL for in your life right now?
- 5. What are you most EXCITED about when it comes to ________________?
- 6. What are you most PROUD of about yourself when it comes to ______________?
- 7. If you could do something WITHOUT REGRET with ________________ what would that be or look like?
- 8. What do you believe YOU NEED MORE OF from _________________?
- 9. How do you ADD VALUE to _________________?
LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN, AND LISTEN some more. Once we pose these questions to our kids give them time to say their piece and resist the temptation to guide their answers by offering suggestions or what you think they need to say.
- Question #1 (AFRAID): It reveals the doubts and fears of your children.
- Question #2 (CHANGE): It reveals your child’s frustrations and discontentment, whether at school or in the home.
- Question #3 (UNDERSTANDING): It reveals their personal concerns and curiosity about things and issues in their life.
- Question #4 (THANKFUL): It reveals the emotional state of your child, whether they’re happy or sad about their life.
- Question #5 (EXCITED): It reveals their personal desires and what they’re passionate about.
- Question #6 (PRIDE): Their answer may reveal more about their self image and levels of self-esteem
- Question #7 (RISK TAKING): This may reveal more about whether they feel held back in anyway by family, friends, school officials, etc.
- Question #8 (SELF-AWARENESS): The answer may give you clues about things your child needs in order to continue to grow into confident, self-aware, well balanced human beings.
- Question #9 (SELF-IMAGE): Pay attention to the ways your child talks about how she adds value to others and the world/and or people and environments where she may feel stunted in her ability to bring value.
Be prepared for the answers they might give you to these questions. Some of their responses may even surprise or shake you. But as fathers, it’s not our jobs to solve or provide answers to all of their problems and challenges. It is our job however, to provide the conditions and platform for our children to feel safe and trusting enough to be able to express themselves with regard to negative and positive experiences in their daily lives.
Don’t forget to tell your child the following each day:
- Believe in yourself
- You were born for special reasons
- Look for ways to help others today
- Your primary purpose is to discover what your unique talents are (that no one else in the world has)
Feel free to incorporate these suggestions for your quality time meaningful conversations. I hope these suggestions bring you closer to your children and inspire your children to do the same in the future…
If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website www.iccounseling.net as well as read my Inner Compass Blog.
Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC. He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work. Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience. He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly. He is married with two daughters ages 14 and 5.