Asking our kids yes-or-no questions is a trap that all parents easily fall into. Sure, there are the easy kids who will get the inference that you want something done and do it. Then there are the kids that when offered these two options, take the one we don’t really want them to.
Here are some examples:
Do you want to get your homework started? No, not really.
Do you want to get your shoes on so we can go? Nope, I’d rather play my video game.
Do you want to help me carry in the groceries? No, thanks.
And now we are stuck in the trap. And then, when we grow frustrated with our child, we may actually be causing confusion. For kids who think along literal lines, they were really offered the choice, so why are you upset with me?
We ask yes-or-no questions mostly out of wanting to ask politely or to be kind. If you really need your child to get something done, you want to use directive language instead.
In five minutes, it will be time to start homework.
Let’s get your shoes on. It’s almost time to go.
I need some help carrying in the groceries. Thanks!
Now that you know, you’ll catch yourself asking yes-or-no questions and realize that you are caught in the trap. And now, you have the tool to extricate yourself. Happy parenting!
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