Listen – Part 1: Getting Them to Talk

Nov 13, 2012 by


Jim and I recently became certified coaches. One of the parts of the training I really loved (and needed) was how to become a better listener. I don’t know about you, but while I’m listening, I tend to be formulating my response, retort, or counterpoint. When I’m doing that, I’m just not really listening.

Now I absolutely love to listen to my children. Their conversations can be intriguing, whimsical, dreamy, and full of potential. But one of the struggles many parents have before they can listen to their children, is to get their children to talk – especially their teenagers. So I started thinking about what gets my kids to talk.

Lauren: First-born girl. She is confident and very social. I can say, “Hello” and she is off and running telling me about her day, week,… minute-by-minute. I love every word. She reveals so much of herself and is very passionate about everything – the good and the bad.

Shay: Middle child, only boy. He is my philosopher. I don’t have to ask him a question because he has been stirring something around in his head, and when I come around, he is ready to reveal and discuss. Some of the thoughts and insights he comes up with absolutely amaze me – and occasionally boggle my mind.

Gabby: Baby girl of the family. Gabby is the funniest of the three. She can completely crack me up to tears without really trying. But when it comes to personal stuff, she keeps it pretty close to the chest. There are moments when she opens that door just a crack and gives us a glimpse of her heart – usually through her worship time or in very insightful poetry.

Getting your kids to talk all begins with knowing your children and using good questioning techniques:

  • Who are they and what is their temperament?
  • When is the best time to get them to open up to you – in the morning or at night?
  • Are you asking them questions on topics they are interested in?
  • Are you asking open-ended questions – ones that will not just get a “yes,” “no,” or “fine” answer?
  • Are your questions respectful?
  • Are you giving them time to formulate an answer?

Walking through these steps will help you have rich conversations that will allow you to know your child better and afford many teachable moments.

How do you encourage your child to open up to you?


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