We’ve all seen the naughty kids, the tantrum throwers and the belligerent ones. But, here’s the thing though. Children are not aware of or able to articulate the real reasons behind their actions, especially if they have behavioral and emotional difficulties.

So, its upto us to help them understand the consequences of their actions and guide them through any conflict resolution that they need help with.

Don’t do the work for them, just facilitate the conversation between two parties that are at odds with each other. A good facilitative approach involves asking open ended questions.

Closed questions are usually easy to answer as the choice of answer is typically a yes or no, depending on the question here are a few examples.

Examples of Closed Questions

• Are you feeling better today?
• May I use the bathroom?
• Will you please do me a favor?

Here are four types of questions:

Closed: “Did you post a mean comment on his picture?”
Interrogative: “Why did you post a mean comment on his picture?”
Multiple choice: “Did you post a mean comment because he was being mean to you or because of something else?”
Open-ended: “What happened?”

Open questions allow for much longer responses, and therefore potentially more creativity from you and more information from the one you’re asking. Ask them open questions to children to engage them about their own future.

Examples of Open Questions

• What were the most important parts of the project?
• What are you planning to do today at work?
• How exactly did the argument between the two of you start?

Make sure you’re avoiding the “why” questions, because children can tend to become defensive and guarded with those. But, even with all these strategies, it’s difficult to say if we can get an honest response.

Our best bet is an open-ended question of “What happened?,” so the child can think objectively at their own situation and offer a plausible explanation. That also helps them to feel empowered as they take responsibility of the situation they’re in.


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About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

The A to Z Of Life Skills

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