Sometimes getting our kids to talk about their concerns and sorrows is like pulling teeth. We want to help, but we can’t unless we know what’s wrong. Truthfully, sometimes the last thing in the world our kids want is our “help.” Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to building strong family bonds as well as developing resilience and the problem solving skills necessary when life is full of transition and change. Unfortunately, in our best efforts to help our kids transition smoothly, we jump to “our story” before we have given them the opportunity to fully explore “their story.” It’s every parent’s wish that our children will have a better life than we did. In our rush toward “better,” we may sometimes forget that, like the wind strengthens the roots of a tree, our kids need to struggle to become stronger.
Keep an open mind and a quiet tongue and let your kids express their trials as well as their triumphs. Remember, we have two ears and one mouth. We should use them in that proportion.
Try these conversation starters to get the communication flowing.
- If you could snap your fingers right now and be anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What person do you dream about meeting?
- What has been the happiest day of your life so far?
- Who is the person you look forward to seeing the most when you get to school?
- What is the best thing about being you right now?
- If you could change only one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- What cartoon or movie character would you most like to be?
- What cartoon or movie character do you think is most like you?
- What makes you smile? (or sad, angry, worried, etc.)
- What things or situations make it hard for you to control yourself?
- What healthy food, that you like, should we eat more of?
- What are the characteristics of a good friend?
- What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?
- What is the nicest thing you have ever done for a friend?
- What do you do that gives you confidence?
- What person makes you feel good about yourself?
- What is the biggest thing adults don’t understand about kids?
- What would you really like to do, but don't, because you’re concerned about others’ opinions?
- What would you do on your perfect day?
Remember, these are starters. Make sure to be prepared with follow up questions and open-ended comments to keep the conversation going. Think like Sherlock Holmes and enjoy the journey of uncovering the mystery of your terrific children!! For more communication starters, follow this link.
No parent should move without a written game plan.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.