As parents, we want our kids to make good choices. When they are very young, we make the majority of the decisions for them. As they grow up, mom and dad relinquish more and more of that responsibility. Whether it is dealing with peers, teachers, or life decisions, I have a suggestion for you. Teach your kids to ask (and answer) the question, “What’s my goal?”
Here’s an example: Your 13-year-old daughter has a math teacher who is a perfectionist and demands that the decimal point be put right on the line or the problem is wrong. Furthermore, your daughter does not see why in the world this is so important! Teach your child to ask (and answer) the question, “What is my goal?” If the daughter in the example answers the question in this way, “My goal is to get a good grade in math,” then she will be able to logically conclude she needs to put the decimal point on the line.
Answering the question, “What’s my goal?” and acting accordingly is very powerful. The 13-year-old can have a feeling of control knowing she is doing what she has determined is best. The answer to the question may not be as positive. She may say in all truth, “My goal is to annoy my teacher and convince her she is wrong to demand the decimal point be placed right on the line.” Even if you completely agree, it is not about winning or losing. Even if the young girl wins this “battle,” the odds are she will lose the “war.”
It’s all about helping your child develop long-term thinking. It is not just winning an insignificant battle. It is much bigger than that. The goal is to help your child look long-term. Then she will able to reject the honest but negative response and search for an answer that will ultimately benefit her. The power of asking and honestly answering the question is good for kids AND adults too. And choosing the productive answer is the next right choice!
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What are some other questions your kids should be asking?