Kids and Questions– Update

(Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more parenting WFMW tips.)

I shared my tips for dealing with kid questions a couple months ago, and wanted to give a bit of an update, having written about those things as I was only beginning to use them.

I’m a believer. These are tips that still work for my kids.

More than anything else, turning the questions back to them when I don’t have an easy answer (or when I know they know the answer) has been an awesome tactic.

It’s taken on a new life too, because it’s sort-of “taught” them to create a segue to change the subject (Hey, I’m still learning how to do that graciously) and now the girls will ask a question when they want to talk about a topic. Great skill to practice, especially starting so young.

For a while now (I’ve been sick and tired– read: thinking slower– these last three weeks or so) they’ve been asking questions and been ready and waiting with whatever it was they want to say.

When I’m too tired to answer and ask them, “What do you think?” they dive right in, eager and delighted for the opening.

It really is nice, this moving into a feeling of “real” conversation. Maybe embryonic conversation, at times.

Now if we could only find a way to get them to drop their “place-holding” sounds (uh-ah-um-um-ah) while they’re thinking what exactly they want to say…

It’s really hard to say “take as long as you need” when you know the long-as-you-need will be entirely filled with that increasingly frantic noise.

Sometimes it seems related to the impulse to speak louder when someone doesn’t understand your language. When they feel they’re not being understood they try to hold the floor longer and get louder and louder as they search for the missing information.

In those times I always feel torn between my impulse to supply the word and the advice that says children need to struggle in order to learn how to think for themselves.

Just now I’m trying to remember a 7-second rule. It runs that many children (thinking more slowly than adults, as they have less-experienced minds) require up to 7-seconds to make some connections.

If I give her that long she usually comes up with what she needs. If she hasn’t got the word(s) by then, hearing them is a relief.

This entry was posted in Advice.

3 thoughts on “Kids and Questions– Update

  1. Good, good stuff. I know I’m going to be raiding your archives (and asking you plenty of questions myself) when Katherine starts talking. I think (stongly) that you have a parenting book in you. (You know how “they” say, “Everyone has at least one book in them”? I think that you have a parenting book or two in you as well as the fiction you’re already working on.) When are you going to write it? : )

  2. Ah, you heard my story about this didn’t you?

    I asked, frustrated, why there wasn’t a book about X parenting issue. My brother and sister both said it was because I hadn’t written it yet.

    My mother (not disagreeing with them, I think, but more realistic) said, “That’s because the people with the information are too busy to write a book.”

    So maybe in another 10 or 20 years I’ll just come back through my blog and be able to glean enough for a “book from the front-lines,” just a few decades after the fact…

    Thanks for the warm fuzzies though :)

  3. I was commenting on a post had been (in part) about receiving and giving mentoring. Checking back to read other comments I was surprised to see mine was the only one that spoke of giving mentoring.

    There seems to be a reluctance (is it a fear of jinxing themselves?) to say we’ve got anything figured out.

    The reality is, you can’t keep a kid alive very long without figuring some things out. Yes, things will always be beyond us, but that’s the nature of growth and strength-training, isn’t it.

    Here’s the comment I left:

    Your last question was about whether there’s someone to be a mentor to, and I’ve found myself so thankful for those women God brings into my life.

    Especially when I’m feeling so out of it in my current parenting journey, I am really thankful for the younger moms that can benefit from my experience/research and affirm that yes, I am an “educated professional.”

    (That’s really important to me for some reason.)

    I have been given valuable skills.

    So I find my own trials and confusions keep me humble, and my ability to encourage others encourages me.

    Wow. God is just so organized…

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