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Asking a Key Element in Pro-Active Parent Coaching by Gregory Bland

Jun 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Parenting

Asking is a powerful discipline for the Pro-Active Parent Coach. The very act of asking a question sets our children’s mind toward finding an answer and creates space for additional information to emerge. Asking, instead of assuming, leads us on the incredible journey of understanding as we truly learn what our children are thinking, feeling and experiencing.

Giving our children the space to speak freely and share what is within their heart is an incredible gift that we offer which strengthens relationship, and fosters openness in communication.  Further, as we transition to ‘Supporting Growth,’ effective questions allow our children to look at their own life and explore the possibilities of growth that they are presented with.

The purpose for asking questions is multi-faceted:

  • It honors and respects our child’s uniqueness.
  • It supports the development of an open and honest relationship.
  • It engages our child’s heart for greater discovery.
  • It builds greater awareness within our children.
  • It cooperates with our child’s Natural Growth Patterns.
  • It keeps responsibility with our children.
  • It allows them to enter into meaningful conversation with us.
  • It provides opportunity for us to support their growth.

But, asking effective questions is much more than tagging a ‘?’ mark at the end of a sentence.  If I am not careful, intentional, and thoughtful, I can continue telling my children what to do, thinking I have transitioned from telling to asking.

Let me illustrate with some common parenting questions:

“Should you do the dishes before you go outside and play?”
“Don’t you think you’re a bit too young for that?”
“Could you do some homework first?  Then spend some time with your friends?”
and one of my all time favourites,
“You don’t want to do that, do you?”

At first glance one might think these are pretty good questions to ask, but, take a closer look.  Are these really effective questions? Or, are these statements that tell our children what they should do disguised with a question mark?

Let’s take another look at the questions and see what we discover.

“Should you do the dishes before you go outside and play?”
“Don’t you think you’re a bit too young for that?”
“Could you do some homework first?  Then spend some time with your friends?”
“You don’t want to do that, do you?”

With a few words struck out, we recognize that these were not effective questions at all.  In fact, they were questions that told our children what they should do.

Effective questions are most commonly open questions which begin with how, what, where, when, who, or tell me about.

Let’s put this into practice, take a few moments and consider the above questions that tell, but this time, change them and make them open questions that will prompt further thought and consideration by our children.

Questions that Tell Open Questions
You don’t want to do that, do you? “Tell me more about this, what attracts you to it?”
Could you do some homework first, then spend some time with your friends?
Don’t you think you’re a bit too young for that?
Should you do the dishes before you go outside to play?

As you transition to asking, consciously think through your questions, and consider, am I asking an open question for my child to consider or am I really telling my child what to do?

Until next time,
Enjoy your journey into Pro-Active Parent Coaching

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

*Gregory and Lynn Bland currently reside in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.  They have recently completed writing a parenting book Pro-Active Parent Coaching: Capturing the Heart of Your Child, A Parent’s Guide to Coaching. Additionally they are providing pastoral care, and participate in various speaking engagements. For more information visit Pro-Active Parent Coaching or write to

Copyright 2011 Gregory Bland | Pro-ActiveParentCoaching | Nova Scotia | Canada |

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