Quick Tip

Collaborative Conversations: Ask Powerful Questions for Independent Kids

If you want more independent kids (of any age) who take ownership of their lives, start by stepping out of the Director’s chair. For a child, teen or young adult to take the lead in their own lives, they need to know that you care about what they think and feel. And they need to believe that you see them as independent kids who have a voice of their own.

How do you begin to transfer the reigns? Start by having collaborative conversations. Yes, you can do this even when it feels like you have to do everything for your kids.

Collaboration starts with asking open-ended, powerful questions that help your child begin to feel a sense of agency and ownership in their lives. It’s that agency that leads them to become independent kids and young adults.

Read on for some quick tips on how to craft powerful questions. Then start using the examples below so that your collaborative conversations will help your kids begin to feel more independent. Once they feel independent, they’ll start taking more ownership!

How to Make a Question Powerful

There are a few key coaching techniques to make a question powerful:

  1. Make them short and simple (seven words or less)
  2. Make them open-ended (not yes or no questions)
  3. Allow for silence after asking – ‘invites’ people to break the dead air
  4. Avoid asking “why” questions that build defensiveness
  5. Ask one question at a time – no piling on!
  6. Repeat a word someone just said with a question at the end?
  7. Don’t be afraid of sounding simplistic

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Examples of Powerful Question

  • What did you notice?
  • What’s important to you about that?
  • What do you make of that?
  • What stands out for you?
  • What else?
  • Will you say more about that?
  • What do you know now?
  • What dots are you connecting?
  • What’s coming up for you right now?
  • What’s your opinion?
  • What’s your feeling about it?
  • How does that effect you?

The next time your kid, teen or young adult is struggling to take the lead, don’t despair! Try this collaborative conversation technique: ask powerful questions. That will help your kids feel a sense of ownership and encourage them to begin to take the lead in their own life. Talk things through with them and ask them what they think and feel.

Not only will collaborative conversations help your kids become more independent, they will open the door to better communication overall and a much more open relationship with your kid!

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