As parents, we become keenly aware of time. We watch it slip between our fingers with every inch that our children grow, every new opportunity or challenge they step into. We try our best to nurture an authentic relationship with open communication, but sometimes between the soccer practices, mealtime frenzy, or household chores, we miss out on really listening to our children and hearing their heart. We make many assumptions based on what we might observe, but at least for myself, I know sometimes I forget to take the time to ask them what’s really going on for them and how they are processing life.
Susan Seay, a dear friend and new customer, recently spoke to a group of local moms here about “Staying Connected with Our Kids.” She shared about fun things they do as a family, like adopting a “Wake up Happy” rule, dancing in the grocery store when great music comes on, or watching interesting videos together to talk about important issues. It was fun to picture how her family of NINE does life together.
10 Questions to Ask
But most of her talk centered around “10 Questions to Ask Your Kids Every Year” which she adapted from a FamilyLife interview with Tim Eliff 2004. She designates a time once a year, usually at the beginning of the school year, to spend one-on-one with each child, asking them these questions, being quiet to listen, and then jotting down their answers to reference throughout the year. She said that it’s very important not to use this time as a teaching or correcting time, but rather as an opportunity to hear some thoughts or feelings that might not be typically shared unless prompted in this way. It can set a precedence for candid, authentic, respectful communication in general.
Here are the 10 questions. It is her hope that these would be a blessing to your family and your relationship with your children. You can visit her very soon at A Powerful Moment to keep in touch with her wisdom, insight and resources.
1. How do you feel we are getting along together?
2. How do you think we could improve our relationship?
3. Do you believe that I am most interested in who you are as an individual…or just how you behave? (do you think I am most concerned about you … or how youmake me appear to others?)
4. Have I ever made a promise to you that I didn’t keep?
5. Do you feel that I respect you? Do you respect me? How do I respect you?
6. Is there something you would enjoy doing with just me? What would keep us from doing this?
7. Is there some secret you are keeping from me out of fear that I would love you less?
8. Is there something I do that annoys you…. or embarrasses you?
9. How could I best express to you just how much I love you, and how honored I feel to be you parent? Or- What makes you feel loved?
10. What are you struggling with ? How can I help?
(optional – have I overlooked any questions you would like for me to ask?)
If you choose to adopt this tradition in your own family, please be sure to share how it went!
Use the comments section below to ask any other questions that Susan or I might be able to answer regarding these questions.
Photo from blog.thenationalcampaign.org