to Ask Your Child About Your Family

Sometimes in the daily business of parenting and family life, our conversations become focused on all those tasks to be done, the rules, the humdrum of life, the ordinary and the mundane; those emotionless directives or comments that do nothing to create intimacy or a real connection between family members. And it’s easy to presume that just because you all live together in the same household, that this necessarily translates into intimacy and an awareness of each other’s dreams, experiences and inner beliefs. And living together also doesn’t mean that just because your experience of the family is a certain way, that other family members will necessarily share your views and perceptions.

So take the time to create that connection, to make a conscious effort to deepen and enrich your relationship with your children using real conversations that place them at the centre of your interest – whether they’re aged six, sixteen or twenty-six; don’t leave it up to chance, because the chances are that it might not happen – or not as frequently as both of you would like, or benefit from.

And above all, don’t forget that asking the questions is only a small part of the exercise – hearing the answers by truly listening – is what makes a true conversation and connection. Make a promise to your child at the beginning that you will truly hear what they have to say, and tell them,”Even if I don’t agree with your answer, I’m going to listen and really try to understand what you’re saying”. And don’t be afraid to use reflective listening – where you reflect back what you think your child is saying and feeling. Start with a comment like:”I think you’re saying that you wish we spent more time together when we were just trying to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company, and that sometimes you feel a bit lonely in the family?”

Here’s 10 questions that will help you to begin a conversation with your child that will perhaps take you to a place that you may not have ever reached, unless you’d purposefully spent the time to enquire.

1. What is the thing you like most about our family?
2. What is something that you would like to change about our family?
3. If our family had a motto, what would you like it to be?
4. Who do you think you get on best with in our family?
5. Who would you like to get on better with in our family?
6. What’s been the happiest time you’ve spent with the family?
7. What do you think other people say about our family?
8. What do you think our family could do more of, or less of?
9. What would you like other people to remember about our family?
10. What’s been the biggest achievement of our family?

So get asking – and listening – and you will find that new avenues open up between you and your child – and a path to greater intimacy.