When parents come to see me with their child they usually begin with the problem. They explain to me what is not working in relationship to school and homework and they often talk about the labels that have been put on the child. Boy, does that conversation feel heavy.
My first question to the child is, “Tell me what’s great about you?” With that question the entire energy in the room changes. The child no longer looks down at the ground, all of the bodies sit up a bit straighter, the eyebrows raise, and the smiles show up. The parents and child then tell me all about the wonderful and creative activities the child enjoys as well as the amazing personal traits that the child possesses. This is the beginning of looking at what’s right about this child.
What if, rather than putting so much attention on what we see as wrong or what isn’t working in school, we looked at what is right and how we can use that to create more ease for the child in school? When we go to the conclusion that there is something wrong then that is what we get, “wrong”. All conclusions and answers keep things stuck where they are and don’t allow change. A question opens up possibilities; so to change something, ask a question. Just as the question, “tell me what’s great about you”, changes the energy in the room, all questions begin to shift the energy of a situation.
Here are some examples of question you can ask to create new possibilities for your child:
What’s right about my child I’m not getting?
What would it take for this to change?
What is really going on here?
What am I not aware of that if I became aware of it would change everything?
What question can I ask that would give my child more ease with school?
What are the infinite possibilities for my child to have more ease with school?
What capacities does my child have that I haven’t yet acknowledged?
Have fun with the questions and play with them! See what shows up. Please don’t be invested in the outcome because that locks up the energy and does not allow the change to occur with ease. What are the infinite possibilities that your child will expand beyond your wildest dreams?
So much of what I hear in the news and from parents regarding teens is that they are not making good choices. Teens are drinking alcohol, taking drugs, avoiding schoolwork and homework, and not meeting other responsibilities. So what is this about? What can we do as parents to create change?
In today’s world we have taken a point of view that we need to manage our children’s lives. Parents have taken on much of the responsibility of making choices for their children from the time they are small, including decisions about what they eat, what they wear, who their friends are, sports and other activities, and home and school work. I often observe parents micro managing playtime at the park as well.
What if our children don’t actually require management? What if they are infinitely more aware than we give them credit? What if the key to having a child who makes expansive choices is a child who is truly empowered to make choices for their own life?
Two tools that you can use to begin to empower your child are, allowing your child to make choices and eliminating the need to judge their choices. The first is to allow your child, no matter what age to make choices. For a small child it might be in selecting their clothing each morning or choosing from a selection of food choices and allowing them to eat only what they desire to eat, not forcing them to finish everything on their plate. For older children it might be choosing the time of day that works best for them to do their homework or deciding if they would like to eat breakfast or skip breakfast.
The second tool is to eliminate judgment of your child’s choices. What if every choice they make brings them a new awareness? Would you be willing to allow your child to make choices that you may not work out well for them? Could you look at those choices as just a choice that created a different awareness so that they might choose something different in the future?
What if the greatest gift of empowerment for your child is allowance of their choices?