Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The S.A.F.E. Program, along with the Mark Kilroy Foundation, wants to wish you a very happy and healthy New Year!

We have many questions from parents on how to deal with their children. Rather than telling them what to do, or barking a command, Dr. Jim Fay says this method might work to your advantage. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Jim Fay's Christmas letter:

I last wrote about the power of questions: how questions can actually divert the brain's focus. A person who is thinking in one direction can suddenly find himself/herself thinking in a totally different direction when hit with a question.

An example of this happened when Jill said to her teacher, "Well, I wasn't the only one throwing food." Her teacher responded with empathy and a question, "Oh, this is sad. Where are you going to eat now that you can't eat in the cafeteria any more?"

"Huh?" Jill's brain, driven by nature to answer questions, had to switch gears and go off in a totally different direction.

Most things we say can be turned into a question, putting us in charge of the conversation. Here are some examples of changing orders or statements into questions:

Order: "You aren't going to talk like that in this house."
Question: "Is this the right place for that language? Thank you."

Order: "If you don't do your homework, you're going to get a bad grade."
Question: "What kind of grade do you think you'll get without doing your homework?"

Order: "You are not going to drive if you drink."
Question: "What do you think will happen to your driving privileges if I start worrying about you drinking?"

Order: "You guys better quit fighting over that remote control."
Question: "Have you guys thought about what might happen to the remote if you keep fighting over it?"

Order: "Quit that bickering!"
Question: "Hey, guys, what do you think is going to happen if that doesn't stop?"

Another example of using a question to change a situation happened when Dr. Charles Fay witnessed three young boys on the school bus becoming rowdy. A teacher told them to settle down. They didn't. Dr. Fay went over to sit with them and asked, "Hey guys. Which one of those Pokemon figures spits fire?"

As you can guess, the entire scenario changed as these kids started answering and talking. No discipline was needed. A simple question made a huge change.

If you find these articles helpful, find over a hundred more in our Love and Logic Powder Room Reader and forward this article to a friend.

Jim Fay