A Love & Logic Article by Dr. Charles Fay

How can we make sure that our kids are doing their fair share of the thinking? How can we keep ourselves from getting pulled into working harder on their lives than they are? How can we help them prepare for a world full of decisions and consequences? One simple technique is to replace statements with questions. Some of the most powerful moments come when we empower kids by asking them what they plan to do about various situations, instead of telling them what they need to do. The implied message we send says, “You are smart. You can come up with the answer.” 

Why do questions make our kids think? The answer is that questions divert the brain’s focus. When we are thinking in one direction we can suddenly find our brain thinking in a totally different direction when hit with a question. Also, our brain has a hard time ignoring the questions it hears. It wants to search for the answers—it just can’t help itself.   Most things we say to our kids can be turned into a question, putting us in charge of the conversation as well as stimulating their brains to think. Here are some examples of changing orders or statements into questions: 

Statement: “If you don’t do your homework, you’re going to get a bad grade.”

Question: “What kind of grade do you think you’ll get without doing your homework?”

 

Order: “Do not drive if you drink.”

Question: “What do you think will happen to your driving privileges if I start worrying about you drinking while driving?”

 

Order: “You guys better quit fighting over that remote control.”

Question: “Have you guys thought about what might happen to the remote if you keep fighting over it?”

Understanding how the brain works can help parents immensely as they use Love and Logic principles and techniques to raise their kids. 

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