Becoming Curious With Your Child And Yourself

Becoming Curious is the key to a long lasting relationship.

When your child acts out, instead of joining them by acting out too, become curious.

Respectfully inquiring without giving advice or trying to fix, allows children to open up to us. Since curiosity does not involve judgment, it can empower both them and us to increase our openness.

Curiosity allows us to look and learn about them as we would about anything or anyone else new to us. Curiosity allows us to get a different perspective. Sometimes because we are in close proximity with our children, we think we understand and know them. Yet, they are growing and changing every day. And these changes can lead to differences in them that we aren’t attuned to.

To continue a healthy relationship with our kids through adolescence and adulthood, it is important to learn how to stay aware, present, and open with them, as if we are meeting them for the first time.

An approach of discovery allows us to bond with them. It allows them to feel safe sharing their fears and struggles and that their internal thoughts and emotions are normal. Validating and normalizing their inner worlds allows them to open up and create change, make good decisions, while putting the child in the driver’s seat with adult guidance. Parenting a child is walking beside them, allowing their true authentic selves to be seen.

Before reacting to your child’s behavior, get curious about yourself: 

"What are my thoughts right now?"

"What sensations am I feeling in my body right now?"

"Do I have expectations or an agenda in this moment?"

"Are they realistic?"

"Do I need to change them?"

"Do I need to help my child achieve them differently?"

"Am I projecting my feelings and emotions onto my child, rather than stopping to feel them?"

Help your child feel understood: 

"What are you feeling right now? I really care about you and want to know what your experiencing"

"Let me know when you’re ready"

"Let’s work this out together"

"I’m here for you"

"Tell me more"

“Is there anything else you would like to share with me about this?”

Validate them:

"I can understand why you feel upset, anyone would feel that way."

"It’s normal to feel scared when _____ happens."

“Is there anything you’d like me to do?”

“That sounds hard.”

“That doesn’t feel good when someone says that, does it?”

 Give them the information about their choices:

You don’t have to sit here alone if you don’t want to, even though you’re feeling sad, you could go congratulate your friend and see what you feel like when you do.”

It’s your call. I have confidence in your ability to make informed decisions and to learn from your mistakes. All I’d ask is to discuss your pros and cons so I know you’ve thought things through—and because I love seeing how you think.”

How do you think that went?”

Is there something different you’d do next time?”

What went well?”

 “Would you like to hear my suggestion?” or “Can I tell you how I see it?” If your child says “no,” then back off. You want to play the role of a trusted consultant to your child, rather than an authoritarian boss.

How do you see yourself solving this problem?” Following up with, “Is there anything else you might try?”

Approaching children with curiosity creates opportunities for them to open up, feel seen and understood, creating connection and deeper, more long lasting relationships.