Some parents already understand the importance of asking clarifying questions of their child. Others make the same mistake that almost everyone makes at one time or another, assuming that their child can speak to them in the same manner that they would if they were an adult. The truth is, you have to ask clarifying questions if you really want to get to the bottom of what is going on with your child. This is largely because children don’t possess the ability to communicate in the same manner as adults. They may not have the vocabulary yet or they may not know how to express their emotions in a healthy manner. As a result, they may not ever be able to convey what they are really feeling to you adequately if you don’t ask certain questions.
This is a relatively easy process. The most important thing that you can do is take the time to talk to your child on a more in-depth level about the things they are telling you. First and foremost, it is important to give your child the opportunity to speak without interruption. This gives them the chance to tell you what they need to tell you without making them feel like you are trying to somehow alter whatever they are saying. Once they have finished speaking, then you can start to ask questions of them. It usually starts by asking them to explain what was going on when a certain event happened or how experiencing something made them feel. It really comes down to paying attention and asking them additional questions that are open ended about whatever it is they’re talking to you about.
In the end, this gives you the opportunity to develop a deeper bond with your child. It also gives you the chance to gain a better understanding of what they are feeling, something that you might not otherwise be made aware of if you had not taken the time to ask them questions. Remember, the idea is to guide them so that you can help them find the tools they need to better express themselves. As long as you don’t ask them questions that lead them to say one thing or another, there is virtually nothing that is off the table.
Watch this TEDx talk to learn more about the art of asking questions…