Q for Questions

How can questions get my child to open up?

Parents tell me that they want some tips on how to coach their child. They don’t want to have to send their son or daughter to child behaviour coach. They want to be able to get their child to open up more about how they’re feeling and help them be happy.

So today, I wanted to give you some really great questions to support you and as you support your child to develop their confidence, their self-esteem, their resilience to bullying and ultimately, their happiness because all roads end up in happiness. That's what we are ultimately about. That's what I am ultimately about. That's what you tell me as parents that you want, ultimately, you just want your child to be happy and who doesn't.

My mum is 82 and she keeps on saying to me, ‘All I want for you, Simon is for you to be happy.’ Okay, I'll tell you what makes me happy. Supporting you, helping kids be happy. And the work that I do directly in schools from time to time, obviously not the moment. I never thought that I would enjoy the work I do with parents as much as I do with kids. But boy, was I wrong. I absolutely love it because it's all about touching that fantastic space of openness and happiness. You know, what makes us happier than talking about happiness? Yes. Okay. 

So straight into it. Some great questions. And the first one that came up was what to do with confidence. So what we want to do is take the child back to previous events when they weren't sure that they could do something. They had a go at it and they succeeded. And so that's one thing that we can use to kind of remind them of when they were wrong about themselves and their ability to do something. Taking them back into the past with a question is a great way to do that. 

Questions are the answers. Questions are the answer. Because if we try and force any information into anybody's head, 10 or 53, that information is just going to bounce straight back off. It's not going to sink in, not going to get into the ears and into the brain and into the heart of the other person. We all do a lot of that. We try and push him for push stuff like a salesperson trying to push you to buy stuff with his quote, I'm trying to push you now, can you really feel it? Push, push, push- get away! I don't want you to push me into anything. Okay, it's like an exclamation mark at the end of something, you know, at the end of a sentence. A question.

I said this yesterday, but I don't think you can hear this too often, write a question as a question mark. A question mark hooks the answer out of the other person. That's what coaching is about, getting their answers out of them. So you know when we say the best way to influence somebody to make them think like it's their idea. Yeah. And that's when it is their idea because it's come out of them. It's not us trying to shove the information and shove the statement into their head. It was drawing that information out. So that's one way a question can take somebody back in time to when – it’s the wrong way around in the image- take them back in time. To when they've achieved something that they didn't think they're capable of. 

Next one, I guess, would be to look forward in time. So how will you feel when you've achieved this goal? And so this is more about inspiring the child to go forward, to look forward and enjoy the results before. This isn't just kids, this is us as adults as well, and parents, we can all worry about something in the future. So if we are capable about worrying about something in the future, we must be capable about enjoying our future before it happens. 

That's one of the quotes of great insight I got from a superb friend of mine, a mentor and friend of mine who I often quote, he's my kind of my inspiration really for doing all this stuff with kids, Richard Wilkins at the Ministry of Inspiration. Why don't we enjoy our future before it happens just in case it doesn't happen? Then we've had the feeling anyway, we don't have to wait for the result. We don't have to wait for the result. We can just enjoy the result. 

Now I'm getting a bit hyper, maybe I should slow down a little bit. So get the child looking back to when they've done something they weren't capable of. Get them looking forward to the future about something that they can enjoy. 

What else could we do on a question? So questions are about getting people to experience things. So if they experience them inside themselves, experience, you know, take them back to an old experience. And then this happened in the past. If they experienced them, it makes the thing, whatever it is, real. So, one of the things that I do with when I'm working with parents is I get them to talk about that first. Moments, or the first moments, the moment when they're really in love with their kids, when they're really in love. So, being in love is like a big bath of loveliness. 

And so that might be when we're watching our child sleep and peace and quiet and loving, maybe the first time that we saw them when they were born. I say I've slowed it down a bit from that frantic pace. Because that pace of love is what it's all about that yeah, that tingly feeling that I'm getting as I describe this to you. 

And what mums and dads tell me about that this is that they, at that moment, they see the perfection in their child. They are in love with their child, in a bath of love with them. Not holding their hands, like attached to them, but feeling with them. Little bit- I'm trying to get you to experience this. So what they see in that moment is the perfection of their child. More than any moment at all, they see the perfection in their child. And I will take them to the place when they see that. That's how their parents saw them in that moment. And we're talking something deeper. Then we're talking something deeper than something like happiness.

We're talking about deep, deep, unconditional love. Seeing the perfection, the true self. Not the tantrums, not the worried personality, not the poor self-esteem, the true self. And we're touching the perfection of who we truly are. And the great thing is that you can take exactly that same approach with your child, so child's a little bit older. I've done this with kids, 9, 10. 

And they've told me about their favourite moment. And that moment was seeing their little niece or nephew for the first time or their little sister, little brother being born, seeing them for the first time, not seeing them being born. They’re not there for that, are they? So they see the perfection in another, for us to see the perfection in other people. And then it's a hop skip and a jump to seeing that perfection in ourselves. And it's Q day today in our A to Z of happiness, Q. We touched that point. So to be talking about questions, where I really wanted to go to with this was quiet. The peace and quiet of that lovely feeling and the contentedness that's at our very core.