Talking with kids can be tough. So often we are wrapped up in trying to get the answer, we forget to enjoy the journey of the conversation (especially with our children). Recently, we have started a new dinnertime habit of asking thought provoking questions, and going around the table and sharing answers. This has become a favorite of everyone in the house, including those that occasionally join us as dinner guests.
The whole goal or purpose of this exercise is to get to know our children better and on a deeper level. Asking them “How was your day?” was consistently getting met with the same “Good” end of conversation. Once we started asking questions focused on dreams, gratitude, empathy, nature, imagination, family, ethics, and relationships, the conversations came to life. I never would have thought asking “Is it ever ok to lie?” Would drum up the conversation it did, but I am so thankful that it did. It allowed us as a family to talk about some tough dilemmas and scenarios that we might not have ever talked about (except of course if one of them was caught in a lie, but that conversation would not have the same impact).
These questions have also allowed us to get to know what kinds of qualities our children pride themselves on, what their insecurities are, and how they view themselves. Even in elementary school, I am hearing how important peer groups and friendships are, and I want to keep the conversations going as they continue to reach their teenage years when the conversations will be harder to come by and just as important.
I have learned that they have to go first, or they are way too tempted to copy my answer to try to answer it correctly. I have also learned that just listening and when I think they are done, staying quiet for a few moments longer after they are “done" can be where the real meat of the conversation happens. This is a habit that I look forward to continuing for years to come.
I want your family to join in on the fun! Each week on our social media, I will post a simple conversation starter that you can use to start your own family conversations.