Dr. Rich Patterson

Questions Open Doors

By reading the posts, you realize how important it is to ask good questions about your kids.¬† Even though they act like they may not like it, deep down, they want that you’re interested in them.¬† It helps to confirm that their thinking, even with all their questions, is OK, is sound and solid.¬† This process helps affirm their self-esteem by encouraging them to feel free to say things that maybe aren’t quite complete yet, crazy, or just outrageous.

If you’re around really great parents for any time at all, you quickly learn that they know about their kids, what they are involved with, what the parents are facing, and they ask insightful and probing questions‚ÄĒparents, who ask great questions open doors for themselves and their kids.

Ask yourself tough questions about your time growing up and be willing to share some of those experiences with your kids.¬† Then ask them a question like, “Have you faced anything like that?”¬† Help them process similar situations, then spin those off into other more likely scenarios they may face.¬† In my book, Making Sense of Life: A Guidebook for Teens and Parents, I have written at the end of most chapters, Thoughts for Students, and a separate section, Thoughts for Parents.

These two sections have several great questions which will work for youth groups, school advisory classes, parenting groups, and youth camp sessions.¬† One of those questions in Chapter 4 is, “How might your thinking be limiting your success in one or two of the assets you have identified?”¬† The opportunity to expand the discussion, make connections, listen non-judgmentally, to share is limitless.

If you use your title as a parent, guardian, or relative to get your kids to open up to you, then you will never really make a connection to them.  They will always be wary, fearful, and reluctant to let you into their world.  But if you develop real influence, make good connections with them, and listen without interruption, you will begin to build a solid foundation of teamwork with your child.  When you start to develop some credibility with them, you will both rise to enjoy a very healthy and happy relationship over time.

Entire books about the skill of asking good questions are available.  I have several posts, and here is the link to one of them, Do You Ask Good Questions? РDr. Rich Patterson (

Ness Labs has a compelling post on Five Practical Ways to Ask Good Questions and five practical ways to ask good questions.

Enjoy the process–it is all we have.

Yours for Better Parenting,