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Better Parents: Communicating With Your Kids

For those of you that I have been privileged to meet at workshops you will be familiar with my movement that I use along my imaginary ASK vs TELL line. For those people I haven’t met, just so you are on the same page, I invent a line that looks a bit like this:


 

You will see that one end represents the more typical ‘telling’ space and the other end representing the ‘asking’ space.

I think that most people agree that we all typically and comfortably operate at the teller end of the line – often unconsciously. I say unconsciously because most of us haven’t really formally recognised the different spaces and because we have had a telling approach role modelled to us in many contexts during our lives, this tends to be the place that we more typically operate from.

During our workshops and in my books we explore this idea more fully on the basis that once we become more aware of what we are doing we can choose to change. Of course we provide lots of evidence as to why you would choose to make this change as there are many adverse consequences to unconsciously telling.

During my workshops I actually move from the telling space to the asking space on many occasions to demonstrate the points I am making, which I know reinforces the awareness and learning for participants. I often joke that when I move to the asking end that YOU as the asker do not have to do the movement in real life and people usually find the idea of dong the movement quite amusing.

Whilst I offer up that advice about not having to move, I quite genuinely mean you do not have to pretend you are standing in one space on the line and then move to the other pretend space. That said it has been interesting for me to reflect on this advice as a lady recently told me that whilst she agreed that the pretend movement along the line would look silly, she did still do a physical movement to remind her to consciously take on the role of being an asker. In fact she had decided that to remind her of the need to take a different approach she would sit back and sit on her hands, which represented her being so vocal and opinionated in the conversation.

When she shared this, I loved her insight and wisdom! What a fabulous way to remind yourself to take a different approach! Anything we do physically will undoubtedly trigger our conscious being to behave differently and therefore the act of being an asker becomes easier to do. So my advice to you in this blog is please seriously consider what physical movement will work for you to remind you that the asking space is different to the telling and you have to bring different skills to the table to be effective. Let me know what you try and what works for you! 

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