Many dads claim, “My boy never talks to me.” Many times I’ll ask, “Do you ever ask him any questions?” And then some dads will answer, “Oh yeah, I ask him questions. Questions like, ‘How was school? How was practice?’”
Notice that both of these questions can have one-word answers -“Goooood.” Can’t you just hear that monotonous tone and the long, drawn out “O” sound? Next time, try asking open-ended questions that require more dialogue from your son. His answers to these types of questions will give you more insight into his life and circumstances. The information offered will ultimately foster more growth in your relationship. BINGO! That’s the goal, isn’t it?
Here are some examples of open-ended questions to ask your son (or daughter!):
• What was the best thing that happened at school today? What was the worst thing?
• What frustrated you the most at practice today?
• Who is the favorite teacher at school and what is it about that teacher that you think kids like so much?
• What do kids like most about your principal?
• What’s the song, musician, group, movie, actor,…that everyone is talking about these days? Why do you think it is so popular?
Be casual and comfortable when you ask questions. Give him time to think about his response. Try asking him during dinner or as you drive him around town to his activities. Ask when you both are not rushed for time. You most likely will be surprised at his responses. You for sure will be enlightened.
Check out the “Conversation Corners” in Bridge to Teen for more examples of many other open-ended questions you can ask. These questions all fall under the important eight growth areas outlined in this book – Academic, Domestic, Emotional, Financial, Physical, Sexual, Social, and Spiritual.
You won’t ever regret taking the time to connect with your son’s thoughts, preferences and activities through these open-ended questions. What you learn provides a way to get involved with the things he faces on a daily basis. Go ahead…Ask away!