Chapter seven of my mom’s book Parenting with Wisdom takes a look at how God is the perfect parent. It is a chapter rich with Scripture, and it is both encouraging and challenging. One comment she makes that I’ve been thinking a long time about is this one:
“Note that a good parent-child relationship will make even poor discipline plans work and a poor parent-child relationship will almost always ensure any discipline plan’s failure.”
Today I’m thinking about questions that I can ask that nurture a good relationship with them. It is a challenge to explore why my children do what they do, but it helps me to love them better. Many of these questions come from my mom (she’s good at asking questions. I’m still learning.) Maybe you can add some of the questions you ask to get conversations going in your house.
The first questions are ones that I can (and have) asked my children, but mostly they are questions that I am regularly asking myself about them, looking and praying for insight.
- What are they afraid of?
- What provokes them to anger?
- How do they perceive themselves? (I usually ask them questions after we’ve read a book– Are you like the protagonist at all? In what way? I was surprised one time when David said, “I’m just like the protagonist because he’s shy.” That blew me away, because I wouldn’t have made the connection.) Do they feel successful at their daily events/ chores?
- What makes them sad?
- What motivates them?
Invariably my children express their opinion on everything from soup to people to flowers to games. It’s become a game for me to try to figure out what they like or dislike about a certain thing. Sometimes they don’t know, but if I give options, they usually can give me more information that I can figure out. So my first two questions come after an opinion is expressed (or not. I’ve asked these questions in the car about topics I know they feel strongly about.)
- What do you like about it?
- What do you dislike about it?
The next questions are about their friends. Usually these get asked soon after visits from friends (adults, teenagers, and children).
- What makes so and so a good friend? Do they love their siblings? Do they love God? Do you like the same things? Do you like to play the same games?
Next are questions about lessons/ Bible stories, or passages in the Bible.
- What’s a verse you like?
- What do you like about it?
- What is your favorite part?
A few that are fun to talk about in the context of specific activities (although I’ve asked this question out of the blue and been surprised at their responses):
- What are you looking forward to?
- What did you like best about today?
Questions about church:
- What was the lesson about? (I still have the urge to ask if Sunday school was “fun.”)
- Does the teacher love God’s word?
- What was the best thing you heard during the lesson?