Parenting tip – Learn to Read the Question Behind the Question
- February 5, 2020
- Posted by: LIFE International School
- Category: Parenting tips
How can be purposeful in training your children?
Raising good children is such a difficult task that the wisest parents will use all the tools they can find to be successful. One of the tools is communication. This is the process of an exchange of messages between a sender and receiver. Information must not only be sent, but it must also be received. As for communicating effectively with a child, we must recognize that this is a unique art, because their messages are often expressed in a code that needs to be cracked.
Some parents struggle to get their children to communicate in meaningful ways.
-Where did you go?
-What did you do?
Others find it difficult to reason with their child saying, “He only listens to me when I shout”. This is an indication that our everyday language is not adequate for communicating with our children. To reach them we need a new way of relating to them, employing new forms of conversation with them.
A matter of communication
The new code of communication with children is based on mutual respect and our ability to improve our communication methods. Today more than ever, communication with the child requires respect and protection. This is not only for the dignity of the parents, but also for that of the child. The child knows if we are really interested in something just by listening to our tone of voice. And by the way we look at them – the brightness they perceive in our eyes.
One of the most difficult communication techniques for me was to go beyond the question. Discern the information that the child really wanted to know. It is not easy, but it is helpful to consider of the possibility of the “question behind the question” that children ask.
For example if they ask: “Does that animal have claws”? It is very likely that they want to know if that animal can hurt them. So the adult must answer tassuring the child that his parents will make sure he is safe.
Another example may be when children ask about death or about any loss. Until the age of 12, the image they have of the world is very literal, and they believe exactly what they hear. That is why it is very important to think how we respond. They may ask why _____ is no longer with us. We must avoid euphemisms and phrases like: “because she has gone far away,”. Or “because God has taken him,” “because she’s sleeping,” or “it was God’s will for your puppy to die.”
Use simple explanations
Since young children think so literally, these phrases may unintentionally induce them to feel afraid of going to sleep or fear when someone goes away and doesn’t come back. Furthermore, such expressions affect how you present God – as someone who takes people or that God makes puppies die. These messages can hinder their faith and cause them not to want to trust such a God.
Without meaning it, we could be communicating to the child that God is evil. But the truth that we want to plant in the heart of the child is an appreciation for the goodness of our merciful God. Just saying that the person died is a better explanation. Though it might be a difficult answer for you, explain calmly that this person has died and can no longer return. It is better to choose simple explanations. Furthermore, the question behind the question that perhaps the child really wants to know is to be assured that he will not be left alone and that his parents will not abandon him.
Also, you can ask: “What do you think?” or “What is worrying you?” or “Why are you asking?” If the child does not have the ability to answer, express your love. Don’t discard the possibility that what they are actually looking for is to feed their need for security. Even if there isn’t any question behind the question, any time is good to reassure the child of their safety and wellbeing.
How can you be purposeful in training your children? Learn to read the question behind the question
For Sonia Maldonado PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)