What If We Asked More Questions

When we blame our kids, saying that they didn’t do well enough, that they should do better, and that “I’m going to take your phone until you do better,” it’s putting in their minds that they’ve done something wrong. What if we were able to get a little curious and ask more questions? What if you, as a parent, actually knew that your son had been struggling all year and that the fact that he’s getting a B is actually something to celebrate and not something to shame him over? What if we realize that we are teaching our children to do more to stay away from pain than go towards pleasure? What if we were able, as parents, to really just celebrate the fact that our kids are doing the best that they can? If we were able to get curious about the situation, we would be able to find out that an individual who’s only 13 years old and who’s under a lot of pressure from society was under the pressure of what their parents expected. Now he’s putting that pressure on himself, and then we wonder why our kids have so much anxiety.

Why do our kids feel so depressed? Why aren’t our kids telling us things? Why are they hiding their grades? Why are they making excuses about not bringing home their report card? Why are they afraid? Why are they afraid to have this conversation with their parents? It is because of the blame and the shame. They don’t want to get blamed for something that they’ve been trying so hard to do. When we stop blaming and shaming, we are able to start building up that self-worth and that self-confidence in our kids. It’s very incremental that we do that. It just stacks and stacks until these kids really start to feel their self-worth. They really feel confident that they’re able to come to their parents and say, “Here’s my report card. I already know they’re not straight A’s, but I want to tell you how excited I am about this ‘B’ in math. I want to share with you the story behind this B and what it took me to get this.” We too can celebrate with them.

We then realize that they’re telling us more about their world than we’ve ever heard before. They’re allowing us to get into their world and understand them. They stop hiding things from us; they stop sheltering their grades from us because they’re so afraid they’re going to get in trouble. They really start learning how to be proud of themselves. When we stop blaming and shaming when something goes wrong at the house and say, “Who did it? Why did you do it?” As soon as you say ‘“why,” you’re putting that child into that sense of “I have to defend myself now.” Why? Why should I do this? All of a sudden, it goes back to “I have to protect. I have to lie because I want my parents to be proud of me. I want to be enough for my parents.” Take away the blame and shame, and you will open so many more doors with your children for them to have that open, safe, and trusting space to share with you.

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