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Parenting - Communicating With Your Children: Are You An 'asker' Or A 'teller'

The starting point for our journey to being a Potentialiser® has to be some honest self reflection about what we are currently doing in our role as parents, particularly in relation to us being a more natural teller, as opposed to an ‘asker’. In our training we share the idea that as human beings we typically do too much telling and it is always interesting to observe people’s reactions to this statement.

I find that some people smile and nod and readily agree with the idea, whilst some sit their contemplating unsure about what their reaction to it is. Occasionally I get people that outright reject the idea on the basis that they advise me that they don’t tell, they provide advice, help or suggestions to their kids. Whilst I do acknowledge that there are different ways to ‘tell’, some being more direct than others, in my opinion all of the above responses are a version of telling, albeit some are more subtle than others.

Once I clarify what I mean by ‘telling’, it is rare for anyone to disagree with the idea that we do too much of it. In our online training program for parents we actually use a simple questionnaire that invites parents to honestly answer some reflective questions that enables them to consciously see and acknowledge where they are habitually falling into a more ‘telling’ role. I think it is important to acknowledge that we shouldn’t be too surprised by this awareness given that during our lifetimes we have probably had some significant role models such as:

•    Our own parents
•    Teachers
•    Managers or bosses

If telling is the natural response that is role modelled to us, then it is no wonder that we will more naturally practice doing this as our habitual response style when asked for help or advice. So rather than resist the idea, I recommend that we embrace it in the knowledge that once we become aware of our natural telling style we can’t help but start to catch ourselves in the act of doing it which then creates a platform for us to choose to change what we are doing.

One lady that did our training advised me that afterwards not only did she keep catching herself reverting to the natural ‘teller’ response with her kids she also noticed how much other people were doing this in response to her, which she actually found she didn’t like any more! 


Becoming conscious of your natural style, then has to be a great starting point on the journey to being a Potentialiser® because once you acknowledge your natural style you can make a conscious choice to change. Start reflecting on the responses you make to your kids when asked for help and see what you notice about yourself – are you an asker or a teller? Happy reflecting!

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