Parents, any time that you can give a great and insightful speech, don’t. Instead, ask great and insightful questions.
If you consider all the meaningful things that you believe are true, most likely you came to it on your own, or you were supported by another in discovering it for yourself, or someone set the stage for you to work it out on. This is usually because every idea has to run the gauntlet of layers that make up our perceptions, filters and reactions. To become right and true for you, it has to weave through this unique, ever-changing maze. And this weaving is fundamental to development.
Understanding a bit more about how we learn, especially as children, is to better understand how to create deeper connections, and how to support children in the development of super critical things like unconditional self-worth, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and communication skills.
Answering questions engages parts of the brain that support the development of new neural pathways. Basically, it gets us thinking more and connecting more things together. It supports feeling into multiple dimensions at once (feelings, needs, fears, verbal and emotional expression, and sense of self). It’s more of a holographic kind of introspection and analysis. For children who don’t know themselves yet, this is critical. For boys, who tend to be less verbal and emotive, it’s really important. For girls, who live in marketing culture that guides them away from the power of who they are, it’s vital. And for those growing up in a digital age (especially kids), it help them go inward and process the kinds of things that excessive screen use is now proven to distract them from, that is foundational to focus, happiness, and empathy.
And, of course, most of us don’t like being given speeches to – so we know, when we are in some more grounded place and not on our righteous, brilliant and fabulous pulpits, that it just doesn’t work so well.