First posted January 28th, 2012:
One of the most important aspects of parenting is talking about what your child sees, hears, experiences at school, church, home, at the store, wherever. It might surprise you what your child is learning (or assuming) based on his or her experiences. When we open up conversations with our children, we give them a chance to process their thoughts and assumptions and help them file those in appropriate and real places for future use. We can ask them open ended, direct questions to help the conversations get started. I was taught that you can’t give up on a conversation with a young person until after you have asked five questions.
Start with questions like: What was a highlight in your day today? Did anything happen today that made you uncomfortable or frustrated? What do you think will happen next in the movie? Who is one of your favorite friends right now? What do you like about him/her? What is your favorite thing to play in your room? Those kind of questions will give you a window into your child’s thoughts, emotions and processing. It will also help you know what to be praying for and what to pursue more in an intentional training time another day.
Christians often compare their relationship with Christ to a relationship with a friend. You must be intentional in spending time with Him to know Him by reading His Word and talking to Him, like calling a friend and setting up times to be together. The same goes in building a relationship with your child. You must spend intentional time talking to your child to know him/her and learn to read when there is more behind their answers. Pray for God to give you insight into timing, but start soon! Don’t waste any time getting to know the child God has called you to disciple, train and love. You can’t imagine how much you have to learn from that little one about your Creator and His intentional relationship building with you, too!