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September 9, 2012

After School Debrief

Focus on your kids

not your kids' problems

What it is The Q&A right after school.
Why it's Important With the right questions parents can increase their social capital—every single school day!
The Problem

Parents aren’t looking to connect to their kids; they are looking to connect to their kids’ problems.  It sounds similar, but it’s as different as night and day.

Connecting to a kid: 

Who made you laugh today? 

It’s about how your child is “feeling”

Connecting to a kid’s problem: 

How much homework do you have?

It’s about how your child is “doing”

 Heads-Up!Which is more important to your child?

Your kids won’t allow you to help them unless you demonstrate greater concern for them—not their problems.

The Tip

Three Good Things

Start the school day debrief on a positive note by asking for the good things first.

Make it personal about you:

“I’m so happy to see you.  I always miss you during the day.”

Make it personal about your child:

“So, what were three good things that happened to you today?”

Heads-Up!      You’ll hear it all—good and bad. 

Allow your child to talk, even if she’s telling you something bad.  When she pauses or asks for input, avoid comment on the bad stuff for a while. 

Validate:  “Oh wow, I can see why it was embarrassing.”

Concern:  “I want to know more about it.”

Redirect:  “But first may we finish with the good things? 

                         You told me one, what’s another?”

Demonstrate a curious and open mind:

Ask open-ended “green light” questions. 

“How did that come up?”  “Is that important?”

Zip Your Lips!

Allow your child time to find the right words or to mentally review the day’s highlights.  He needs time to be fully heard. 


Patterns Emerge

Over time you’ll start to understand your child’s likes and dislikes by the repeating themes.


People—especially kids—don’t always have the language needed to express thoughts and feelings so it’s up to us to watch for opportunities to decipher their important messages.  See Patterns Emerge.


Being understood is a relief; a relief that is rewarded by the relationship it fosters.

 Influence Communication is an artful relating skill that requires grace, elegance, and lots of practice and patience.   Done well, you’re connected to your kids by common ground and you’ll have a greater range of ways in which to respond to them. 
Promise Kept

We promise to teach our kids to value themselves as worthy of all good things.  By demonstrating how to value your gifts to her, you’re making good on the promise.


Related Articles: Communication, Top 10 to be Happy, Less Sad Isn’t Happy, Successful Failure

Related Tip of the Week:  Powerful Listening, What to Listen For


After School Debrief

Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control where you’ll find tips for healthy living.

  Chime in >> What do you think?

 Email Lorraine with your question 

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