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Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills #2: Curiosity

Have you ever gotten into an argument with your kid(s)? We might as well ask: are you a human being with human children? Arguments are a natural part of being in a human family.

The problem is that arguments are not exactly fertile ground for curiosity. Instead, we come armed with agendas (like "clean your room") and facts (like "you said you would do x but you never did").

We all know where these arguments head: triggered emotions, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. We're not here to tell you how to never have another argument again (impossible), but rather how to have fewer of them, make them shorter, and get better results afterward.

The Level Up communication skill that can do all this? Curiosity.

What is curiosity in the context of parent communication?

Curiosity is the simple shift in our attention from pressing our agenda or defending ourselves to opening up with a genuine interest in what our loved ones are really experiencing. So often we communicate with our kids (or partner for that matter) with an agenda or assumptions in mind.

The agenda can be as simple as: I want you to clean your room. Or the assumption can be as complex as you don’t respect me or take my feelings seriously. Either way, curiosity is not on the agenda. But if we can slow down and get curious, we can level up not just our communication skills but our relationships and our lives.

What makes curiosity such an effective parent communication skill?

At first glance, many of our interactions with our kids don't seem to warrant a lot of curiosity. You asked them to stop doing X and they just did X again. How can curiosity help? It helps in four different ways:

  1. Curiosity helps you get a more accurate view of them and yourself. Did they think you meant Y instead of X? Or to not do X only under Z circumstances? Maybe they knew exactly to not do X but chose to do it anyway. Real curiosity helps you get to the root of this breakdown in honesty and integrity.
  2. Curiosity helps you acknowledge your child's real needs beneath the superficial issue you might be arguing about. This might take a long time and a lot of talking, but beneath a lot of challenging behavior are unmet needs. And once you know what these needs are you might even be able to meet them. And if not (like a teen's desire for extreme independence that could lead to self-harm) then you can at least acknowledge it.
  3. Curiosity will help you acknowledge your own needs that might be lurking beneath the surface. Are you triggered by your child's behavior because of your own unmet needs? Get curious! And who knows? Once you recognize these deeper needs, you might be able to get them met.
  4. Curiosity lets your kids know that you really care about them and want to understand them. They're not just problems to be solved, but beings who are loved no matter what.

How do you get more curious in your communications?

It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time because the heat of the moment tends to squash any chance at curiosity. We can use three steps to prepare for curiosity and then use three powerful curiosity questions.

Preparation step 1: take a deep breath or several. We can’t be curious when we’re activated and in flight or fight mode. That’s just science.

Preparation step 2: practice curiosity on yourself. Start getting curious about your own triggers, self-judgements, needs, motivations, and difficult feelings. This is hard work but you can’t be curious with others if you can’t be curious with yourself.

Preparation step 3: pause before you begin a conversation. Use this pause to set an intention around being openly curious.

Once you begin the conversation try one or all of these curiosity bombs and see what happens:

Question #1: What do you need from me right now?

Question #2: What do you feel I’m not seeing or hearing right now?

Question #3: What are you feeling right now?

With any of these questions, you can just relax and quietly wait for the other person to open up, and maybe they even discover something new about themselves. And then there’s one final follow up question that is truly next level:

Next Level Question: “Is there more?”

Practicing open-ended curiosity drives greater understanding even when the conflicts get big. And above all, showing such curiosity lets our kids and partner know that we really care and want to get them on a deep level.

Curiosity might seem simple, but it takes a lot of practice to drop our agenda and assumptions and get honestly curious. But once you start, you’ll find that conversations that used to end in frustration or anger instead become opportunities for greater understanding and connection. Thanks for joining us for Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills. See you next time.

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Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills #2: Curiosity

Arguments are a natural part of living in a human family. Curiosity can help you have fewer of them, make them shorter, and get positive results afterward.

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Have you ever gotten into an argument with your kid(s)? We might as well ask: are you a human being with human children? Arguments are a natural part of being in a human family.

The problem is that arguments are not exactly fertile ground for curiosity. Instead, we come armed with agendas (like "clean your room") and facts (like "you said you would do x but you never did").

We all know where these arguments head: triggered emotions, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. We're not here to tell you how to never have another argument again (impossible), but rather how to have fewer of them, make them shorter, and get better results afterward.

The Level Up communication skill that can do all this? Curiosity.

What is curiosity in the context of parent communication?

Curiosity is the simple shift in our attention from pressing our agenda or defending ourselves to opening up with a genuine interest in what our loved ones are really experiencing. So often we communicate with our kids (or partner for that matter) with an agenda or assumptions in mind.

The agenda can be as simple as: I want you to clean your room. Or the assumption can be as complex as you don’t respect me or take my feelings seriously. Either way, curiosity is not on the agenda. But if we can slow down and get curious, we can level up not just our communication skills but our relationships and our lives.

What makes curiosity such an effective parent communication skill?

At first glance, many of our interactions with our kids don't seem to warrant a lot of curiosity. You asked them to stop doing X and they just did X again. How can curiosity help? It helps in four different ways:

  1. Curiosity helps you get a more accurate view of them and yourself. Did they think you meant Y instead of X? Or to not do X only under Z circumstances? Maybe they knew exactly to not do X but chose to do it anyway. Real curiosity helps you get to the root of this breakdown in honesty and integrity.
  2. Curiosity helps you acknowledge your child's real needs beneath the superficial issue you might be arguing about. This might take a long time and a lot of talking, but beneath a lot of challenging behavior are unmet needs. And once you know what these needs are you might even be able to meet them. And if not (like a teen's desire for extreme independence that could lead to self-harm) then you can at least acknowledge it.
  3. Curiosity will help you acknowledge your own needs that might be lurking beneath the surface. Are you triggered by your child's behavior because of your own unmet needs? Get curious! And who knows? Once you recognize these deeper needs, you might be able to get them met.
  4. Curiosity lets your kids know that you really care about them and want to understand them. They're not just problems to be solved, but beings who are loved no matter what.

How do you get more curious in your communications?

It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time because the heat of the moment tends to squash any chance at curiosity. We can use three steps to prepare for curiosity and then use three powerful curiosity questions.

Preparation step 1: take a deep breath or several. We can’t be curious when we’re activated and in flight or fight mode. That’s just science.

Preparation step 2: practice curiosity on yourself. Start getting curious about your own triggers, self-judgements, needs, motivations, and difficult feelings. This is hard work but you can’t be curious with others if you can’t be curious with yourself.

Preparation step 3: pause before you begin a conversation. Use this pause to set an intention around being openly curious.

Once you begin the conversation try one or all of these curiosity bombs and see what happens:

Question #1: What do you need from me right now?

Question #2: What do you feel I’m not seeing or hearing right now?

Question #3: What are you feeling right now?

With any of these questions, you can just relax and quietly wait for the other person to open up, and maybe they even discover something new about themselves. And then there’s one final follow up question that is truly next level:

Next Level Question: “Is there more?”

Practicing open-ended curiosity drives greater understanding even when the conflicts get big. And above all, showing such curiosity lets our kids and partner know that we really care and want to get them on a deep level.

Curiosity might seem simple, but it takes a lot of practice to drop our agenda and assumptions and get honestly curious. But once you start, you’ll find that conversations that used to end in frustration or anger instead become opportunities for greater understanding and connection. Thanks for joining us for Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills. See you next time.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with your kid(s)? We might as well ask: are you a human being with human children? Arguments are a natural part of being in a human family.

The problem is that arguments are not exactly fertile ground for curiosity. Instead, we come armed with agendas (like "clean your room") and facts (like "you said you would do x but you never did").

We all know where these arguments head: triggered emotions, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. We're not here to tell you how to never have another argument again (impossible), but rather how to have fewer of them, make them shorter, and get better results afterward.

The Level Up communication skill that can do all this? Curiosity.

What is curiosity in the context of parent communication?

Curiosity is the simple shift in our attention from pressing our agenda or defending ourselves to opening up with a genuine interest in what our loved ones are really experiencing. So often we communicate with our kids (or partner for that matter) with an agenda or assumptions in mind.

The agenda can be as simple as: I want you to clean your room. Or the assumption can be as complex as you don’t respect me or take my feelings seriously. Either way, curiosity is not on the agenda. But if we can slow down and get curious, we can level up not just our communication skills but our relationships and our lives.

What makes curiosity such an effective parent communication skill?

At first glance, many of our interactions with our kids don't seem to warrant a lot of curiosity. You asked them to stop doing X and they just did X again. How can curiosity help? It helps in four different ways:

  1. Curiosity helps you get a more accurate view of them and yourself. Did they think you meant Y instead of X? Or to not do X only under Z circumstances? Maybe they knew exactly to not do X but chose to do it anyway. Real curiosity helps you get to the root of this breakdown in honesty and integrity.
  2. Curiosity helps you acknowledge your child's real needs beneath the superficial issue you might be arguing about. This might take a long time and a lot of talking, but beneath a lot of challenging behavior are unmet needs. And once you know what these needs are you might even be able to meet them. And if not (like a teen's desire for extreme independence that could lead to self-harm) then you can at least acknowledge it.
  3. Curiosity will help you acknowledge your own needs that might be lurking beneath the surface. Are you triggered by your child's behavior because of your own unmet needs? Get curious! And who knows? Once you recognize these deeper needs, you might be able to get them met.
  4. Curiosity lets your kids know that you really care about them and want to understand them. They're not just problems to be solved, but beings who are loved no matter what.

How do you get more curious in your communications?

It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time because the heat of the moment tends to squash any chance at curiosity. We can use three steps to prepare for curiosity and then use three powerful curiosity questions.

Preparation step 1: take a deep breath or several. We can’t be curious when we’re activated and in flight or fight mode. That’s just science.

Preparation step 2: practice curiosity on yourself. Start getting curious about your own triggers, self-judgements, needs, motivations, and difficult feelings. This is hard work but you can’t be curious with others if you can’t be curious with yourself.

Preparation step 3: pause before you begin a conversation. Use this pause to set an intention around being openly curious.

Once you begin the conversation try one or all of these curiosity bombs and see what happens:

Question #1: What do you need from me right now?

Question #2: What do you feel I’m not seeing or hearing right now?

Question #3: What are you feeling right now?

With any of these questions, you can just relax and quietly wait for the other person to open up, and maybe they even discover something new about themselves. And then there’s one final follow up question that is truly next level:

Next Level Question: “Is there more?”

Practicing open-ended curiosity drives greater understanding even when the conflicts get big. And above all, showing such curiosity lets our kids and partner know that we really care and want to get them on a deep level.

Curiosity might seem simple, but it takes a lot of practice to drop our agenda and assumptions and get honestly curious. But once you start, you’ll find that conversations that used to end in frustration or anger instead become opportunities for greater understanding and connection. Thanks for joining us for Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills. See you next time.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with your kid(s)? We might as well ask: are you a human being with human children? Arguments are a natural part of being in a human family.

The problem is that arguments are not exactly fertile ground for curiosity. Instead, we come armed with agendas (like "clean your room") and facts (like "you said you would do x but you never did").

We all know where these arguments head: triggered emotions, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. We're not here to tell you how to never have another argument again (impossible), but rather how to have fewer of them, make them shorter, and get better results afterward.

The Level Up communication skill that can do all this? Curiosity.

What is curiosity in the context of parent communication?

Curiosity is the simple shift in our attention from pressing our agenda or defending ourselves to opening up with a genuine interest in what our loved ones are really experiencing. So often we communicate with our kids (or partner for that matter) with an agenda or assumptions in mind.

The agenda can be as simple as: I want you to clean your room. Or the assumption can be as complex as you don’t respect me or take my feelings seriously. Either way, curiosity is not on the agenda. But if we can slow down and get curious, we can level up not just our communication skills but our relationships and our lives.

What makes curiosity such an effective parent communication skill?

At first glance, many of our interactions with our kids don't seem to warrant a lot of curiosity. You asked them to stop doing X and they just did X again. How can curiosity help? It helps in four different ways:

  1. Curiosity helps you get a more accurate view of them and yourself. Did they think you meant Y instead of X? Or to not do X only under Z circumstances? Maybe they knew exactly to not do X but chose to do it anyway. Real curiosity helps you get to the root of this breakdown in honesty and integrity.
  2. Curiosity helps you acknowledge your child's real needs beneath the superficial issue you might be arguing about. This might take a long time and a lot of talking, but beneath a lot of challenging behavior are unmet needs. And once you know what these needs are you might even be able to meet them. And if not (like a teen's desire for extreme independence that could lead to self-harm) then you can at least acknowledge it.
  3. Curiosity will help you acknowledge your own needs that might be lurking beneath the surface. Are you triggered by your child's behavior because of your own unmet needs? Get curious! And who knows? Once you recognize these deeper needs, you might be able to get them met.
  4. Curiosity lets your kids know that you really care about them and want to understand them. They're not just problems to be solved, but beings who are loved no matter what.

How do you get more curious in your communications?

It’s crucial to prepare ahead of time because the heat of the moment tends to squash any chance at curiosity. We can use three steps to prepare for curiosity and then use three powerful curiosity questions.

Preparation step 1: take a deep breath or several. We can’t be curious when we’re activated and in flight or fight mode. That’s just science.

Preparation step 2: practice curiosity on yourself. Start getting curious about your own triggers, self-judgements, needs, motivations, and difficult feelings. This is hard work but you can’t be curious with others if you can’t be curious with yourself.

Preparation step 3: pause before you begin a conversation. Use this pause to set an intention around being openly curious.

Once you begin the conversation try one or all of these curiosity bombs and see what happens:

Question #1: What do you need from me right now?

Question #2: What do you feel I’m not seeing or hearing right now?

Question #3: What are you feeling right now?

With any of these questions, you can just relax and quietly wait for the other person to open up, and maybe they even discover something new about themselves. And then there’s one final follow up question that is truly next level:

Next Level Question: “Is there more?”

Practicing open-ended curiosity drives greater understanding even when the conflicts get big. And above all, showing such curiosity lets our kids and partner know that we really care and want to get them on a deep level.

Curiosity might seem simple, but it takes a lot of practice to drop our agenda and assumptions and get honestly curious. But once you start, you’ll find that conversations that used to end in frustration or anger instead become opportunities for greater understanding and connection. Thanks for joining us for Level Up Your Parent Communication Skills. See you next time.

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