Category Archives: Asking

A Simple Question: Understanding of What our Child Needs from Us in the Moment. By Gregory Bland

checkers-gregory-blandThe heavy footsteps, sigh, and loud thump as my son sat upon the stairs by my desk clearly indicated something was up. I looked up to see a disappointed look upon my sons face. He stared into my eyes and said,
“Dad, the girls are being mean to me again!”
“What’s going on?”
“Well, they won’t let me in their room, they keep pushing on the door and holding it shut so I can’t get in.”
“Did they give any explanation to you?”
“Yeah! No boys allowed!! What should I do now?”
“Josh, this is an interesting situation. There are several possibilities here. What do you think you should do?”

Looking away from me, he sat silent for a few moments thinking. Placing his elbows on his knees and leaning forward until his chin nestled into his hands, he scrunched his little face up and replied.

“Dad, you have to remember, I’m littler than my sisters, and I don’t know as much as they do. Sometimes you just need to tell me what to do.”

In that moment, as I looked into my son’s eyes, my mind was quickly carried back to a conversation I had with another parent not too long ago.

“Our role in parenting will naturally shift according to our children’s need in the moment.  In some cases we will teach, imparting knowledge, at other times we will mentor, allowing them to glean from our experience, and often we will coach, guiding our children to discovery. The key is discerning what they need in the moment.”

My natural desire to turn this into a learning experience and coach in the moment I took that posture. I was hoping to stimulate thought about how he could engage his sisters, what he needed was something different.

In my desire to help him in this way, I had forgotten to ask one simple question, which would have helped me better understand the role he needed me to play at this particular moment.

“What do you need most from me right now?”

Looking up the stairs my heart was gripped by how sad he looked. I invited him to come closer and sit upon my lap. He stood and somberly sauntered down the remaining stairs, rounded my desk and crawled into my lap.

As he nestled in tightly to my chest, I firmly placed my arms around him and apologized for being ‘insensitive’ and asked, “What do you need most from Daddy right now?”

Quietly he lifted his head and once again looking into my eyes he said softly, “I just want someone to play with. Could we play a game of checkers together?”

What a revealing response to that simple question! He didn’t want to be mentored, taught or coached, rather what he needed the most was simply someone to spend time with.

The truth is we can easily focus upon what we believe is best for our child in the moment and easily miss what they need the most from us. Instead of pushing my own agenda, and tuning into his needs it opened the door to a great time of relational connection.

Have there been times in your parenting where asking a simple question like this may have catalyzed a different outcome with your child? As we conclude, take a moment and think of two variations of the question, “What do you need most from me right now?” that you could ask your child. In this way you will be prepared to ask what your child needs most from you and make the most of that opportunity when it presents itself.

To get you started I’ll offer one more.

a. How can I best help you?
b.
c.

Until next time, continue enjoying the rich relationship parent coaching can add to your family relationships but remember: be flexible.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach.
Greg

Want to Connect with Your Child/Teen? pt.1 by Gregory Bland

connect-with-child-teen-gregory-bland

Want to connect with your child/teen?  Spend regular time in casual conversation.

Common sense?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The busyness of our lives often dictates a need to be quick and efficient.  If we approach conversation with our children/teens in this way we can miss moments of true heart to heart connection and even subtly push our children away.

In this desperate hope for efficiency we focus too quickly on what needs to be different, what needs to change, or the improvements we perceive will benefit our child/teen in the long run.  Often at the expense of relationship.

Spending regular time in casual conversation maintains an openness with our children/teens.  It also prevents the feeling that we only speak with our children/teens when there is an ‘issue’ to be solved.

If every conversation we have with our child/teen is driven by an agenda or focused on solving a problem or issue, it will eventually create resentment, leading them to close down and/or shut us out.

Further, we’ll miss the opportunity to discover what is truly important to our child/teen; what they are passionate about, what they love, and even what they fear or hate.   All topics that often crop up in moments of seemingly casual conversation.

Look for and create opportunities to just listen and dialogue with no agenda. You’re child/teen will appreciate it, and you will discover a wealth of hidden treasure contained within them.

Until next time, make the most of every conversation to gain a greater understanding of your child/teen’s heart.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach

Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

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Practical Steps to Creating ‘Other Mindedness’ this Christmas Season 1

others-mindedness-gregory-bland

Approach the season of giving by intentionally shifting focus from getting to giving.  You can ask your child/teen “What would you like to give this year?”  This question, in itself, sets their mind exploring a different path than the traditional, “What would you like for Christmas this year?” that is often asked.

Broke in 60 Seconds by Gregory Bland

 

rubikscubeChristmas Day is traditionally a time of gift giving within our family.  We spend time selecting, saving for, and securing gifts for one another that we believe will have significant meaning for the recipient.  My son has been very active from the get go.  His mind is always working, his activity level high, and he loves brain teasers, puzzles, something he can put together.  As I thought about these characteristics I thought a Rubik’s© Cube would make a great little gift for his growing mind.

His eyes grew wide with excitement as he unwrapped the colorful cube Christmas morning.  With a big smile he looked at me, rose to his feet, and hugged my neck, as he clung tightly to that cube.  He whispered, “Thanks Dad, I’m going to go mess this up, and then solve it.”  With a sense of pride that I had purchased something he was going to enjoy, I smiled and said, “Bring it back when you’re done so I can celebrate with you.”

 

I had a Rubik’s© Cube  as a kid and remember just how difficult they were to solve.  Ok, Ok, I don’t think I ever solved more than 3 sides of it, but it provided hours of entertainment for me, and I was sure it would for Josh as well.

Interestingly enough about 60 seconds later (well it was probably more like a ½ hour but seemed like just a moment of time) Josh sheepishly came toward me.  Looking at him and noticing something wasn’t quite right I asked, “What’s up Josh?”
“Umm, well, I have problem,” he said.
“Ok.  What is the problem?”
“I can’t get the Rubik’s© Cube  together.”
“Josh.  It’s a pretty hard puzzle.  You may not be able to get it right away.  It’s going to take you some time.  That’s why I got it for you.”
“No.  That’s not it.  I can’t put it back together.”
“What do you mean, “Put it back together?””
At that moment, he brought his arms from behind his back and showed me.  The Rubik’s© Cube, no longer a cube form, but a pile of smaller, block pieces lying in a heap.  I looked at it, looked at him, and looked back at it.  Pausing  for a moment hoping to find words to say.

What I was thinking was, “I can’t believe it.  You just got that thing. What were you thinking? Why did you take it apart?”

Still at a loss for words he reached out his hands to me and said sheepishly, “Can you fix it?”  It’s always nice to be considered a hero to your  youngsters, but I looked at it and thought.  I don’t know.  Something was still churning within me, aggravation, frustration, I’m not really sure what to call it.  Thankfully the time that I paused was just enough to calm my mind a little to ask a simple question.

“Josh, can you help me understand your reason for taking this apart?”

“That’s easy Dad. I wanted to see how it worked!”

With that one statement everything inside of me calmed and there came a greater understanding of his motivation for dismantling the cube.  It wasn’t malicious.  It wasn’t disrespectful.  It wasn’t even because he didn’t appreciate it.  He was trying to discover something.  How does this work.

All of a sudden it made complete sense and then it dawned on me.  I do the same thing.

That moment, that one question, and the answer he gave calmed my insides (I know many of you wouldn’t have had as bad of thoughts as I did) and helped me to navigate just a little bit better and with greater understanding.

“Josh, to answer your question about whether or not I can fix it, I am not sure.  But why don’t you and I sit down and see if we can figure it out together.  Today, the Rubik’s© Cube is re-assembled and useable once again.  This opportunity helped me to grow just a little more regarding the importance of not jumping to conclusions, and becoming angry, but asking for clarification to gain understanding.

It hasn’t been solved yet, but we had a great time rebuilding it.

Until next time before letting frustration get the best of you, take a moment to gain understanding, it just might help your relationship.
Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland