“This Critical Skill will Help You Solve Parenting Problems”
Parents: I need to start a conversation with you about the importance of asking good questions. This applies to ALL relationships, not just parents and kids. But as usual, I’ll stick to parenting examples. You can draw your own analogies on how to use this information elsewhere in life.
This is a story from when my oldest daughter was in Kindergarden. We had organized a play date with one of the girls in her class. Kindergarden is a morning program, so school ends at lunch time. The parents of the other child don’t know I’m writing about her, so let’s hide her identity and call her Paula.
My wife and I picked them up from school, took them home and made them lunch. On the menu was Grilled Cheese.
We let the kids have their lunch at the counter while my wife and I sat outside on our patio to enjoy a bit of adult conversation. Not a minute later, Paula came outside to tell my wife that she didn’t like the bread.
It was a really hearty whole-grain bread made with no yeast and no preservatives. Sometimes kids don’t like these breads, but it’s all we had. We stopped buying white flour garbage.
Anyway, my wife explained that we don’t have any other breads, but that Paula could just eat cheese if she preferred. She’d be hungry, my wife explained, but we had no other bread.
I sorta edge my way into the conversation because I have a funny habit of asking questions that often lead to useful NEW information.
I asked Paula:
“Hey Paula – I understand that you don’t like the bread. Can you tell me what it is about the bread that you don’t like? Is it the color? Is it the way it feels? Is it the taste? Or maybe the smell? What is it that you don’t like?”
I asked this in a inquisitive way – not in any rude or judgment-passing way.
Here’s what happened. Paula told me that she had two loose teeth (her front teeth) and it hurt to eat the grilled cheese sandwich. I simply offered to cut it up into tiny squares so she could eat them one by one, using her back teeth. This way her front teeth wouldn’t be digging into the tough bread.
She was totally happy with that solution, and the fact that someone actually listened to her.
Now, in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) we call this using the meta model. The meta model is all about asking questions to fill in the blanks. The blanks are missing information. In this case all we knew is that Paula didn’t like the bread. But think about that! There are LOTS of reasons she might not have liked the bread and if we simply assumed it was the taste we’d be wrong.
So the answer is to ask questions. Lots of GOOD thoughtful questions. When you do this you get better information. With better information you can solve problems properly.
if you aren’t yet a customer, you can also check out my audio course Talking to Toddlers, where I show you lots of great techniques to deal with children.
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Enjoy your children,
P.S. If you enjoyed this story please share it with other parents via Facebook, or drop me a comment below. I really do read them.