Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth

4. The Most Important Question You Can Ask Your Child(ren)

July 24, 2023 Heather Evans Season 1 Episode 4
Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth
4. The Most Important Question You Can Ask Your Child(ren)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to transform your parenting approach? This enriching discussion promises a deep understanding of how to cultivate not just good actions, but good intentions in your children. We start by exploring the power of the question, ‘Who do you want to be?’ and how it can help children identify the qualities they want to nurture in themselves.

To further this journey, we delve into the challenge of fostering positive qualities in children who might not see the value in them. We also share actionable steps for these crucial conversations. To wrap things up, we invite you to be a part of our collective journey of growth by sharing your experiences. So, tune in and get ready to step into a new approach of parenting, one that empowers both you and your child.

Speaker 1:

Hey, y'all. Welcome back to another episode of Whatever With Heather. Today, we're talking about raising good humans. How to raise good kids? So how do we help our children become good people? We may say that we want our children to be good people. But if we get really real with ourselves, We don't just want kids who are good people. We want kids who want to be good people. Not just act good, but actually desire internally to be a good person. In other words, we don't just want our children to pretend to be good or caring or kind or whatever qualities you would label as being a good person. We want them to actually want to be kind, to want, to be respectful, to want to be considerate, or whatever words you use for raising a good human we don't just want them to pretend to be those things. We want them to actually want to be those things. Right? So how do we help our children want to be good. And the truth is most people, probably you included, we want to have good positive qualities. And for your kids, they most likely don't want to be viewed as the mean kid, the bully kid. The disrespectful kid. So it is highly likely your child or children do have an intrinsic motivation for developing these good human qualities. And at the same time, a lot of people also want what they want And so if they are told to do something and don't internally wanna do it or maybe they're told to do something and internally wanna do it and they kinda have this rebellious spirit. They may fight against what they are told they should do just because that's how they're wired. We all know of or maybe we are this type of person who If someone tells us to do something, that means we want to do it less because we were just told to do it. It wasn't our idea. And definitely, some of us have children that are like that. That you tell them to do something. And even if they wanted to do it, they no longer wanna do it because they were told to do that. So how do we take these two things? People wanting and your children wanting intrinsically to be good respectful, have positive qualities, and at the same time, they may not want to do what they are told to do. How do we take both of these qualities, or characteristics that you might find in a human aka your children, and help guide them to be good humans. And this comes down to one question to ask your children. When we started asking our children this question, everything changed in our family. I would say this one question and the way it shifted our parenting has made the biggest impact in our family than any other parenting technique or skill or hack ever. And so we asked our kids this question. We said who do you want to be? And we continue to ask them this question throughout their life. Who do you want to be? This is the most important question you can ask your kids because it's going to give you a really clear insight and give themselves a clear insight on who they truly want to be, not who they're told they should be, not what qualities they're told they should value, but what do they truly want to be? And if that question seems too big, then we break it down a little more. Into what do you want people to think of when they think of you? If you listen to the mini podcast episode with Bennett, I asked him that question. He wanted to be known that he was good and respectful. In that podcast, if you listen back to it, you can hear me ask that question and have him come up with the answers. This is where we listen to our kids and see what they truly want to be. And this is where they verbalize and it becomes clear to them the qualities that they value. And now let's break it down a little farther. So maybe this is still a kind of a hard question. Like, well, I don't even really know what I value as qualities in people, and I don't know what qualities I wanna have for myself. So the next way you can phrase this question is tell them to think about their friends and what qualities do they like in their friends? Have them come up with a list of the things they like about their friends. And surprisingly or not surprisingly, most of these qualities will be positive, good human attributes. Maybe their friend is funny, maybe their friend's a good listener, maybe their friend stands up for them. Maybe their friend is honest. Maybe their friends respectful to them. Maybe their friend is kinder to them than anyone else. And when they can see these qualities in someone else, they can now know that those are the qualities they view as valuable. Those are what make them look at that other person, not friend, and say, oh, I like you. And since we want people to like us, those are qualities that your child may want to cultivate in themselves. So one quality that I admire and other people are being a really good listener This is not a quality that I innately had. This is a quality I have worked towards because I find it so valuable in other people. That I want to cultivate that because I know how it feels to be listened to, and so I want to be someone who listens to people. That's just an example of taking a quality of somebody else and realizing that you value it and would like to cultivate it yourself. This is not about becoming like other people. This is just seeing what do you value as a human in other humans. And therefore, would you also value those qualities in yourself or even developing those qualities in yourself? So ask your children who do they want to be? Or what do they want people to think of when they think of them? Or what do you like about your friend so and so, and what qualities do they have that you would also like to have. Now, notice how this question is not about shaming for the things they your children are not. This is breaking down what they value, what they would like people to think of when they think of them. What they intrinsically find to be of value. We go through our lives oftentimes telling our children they should be kind. You should be nice. You should be respectful. You should be thoughtful. You should be considerate. You should be patient. You should be honest. On and on, we tell them what they should be. And intrinsically, they probably want to be a lot of those things. But they've never had the chance to realize that is who they truly want to be. They've just been told they should be this type of person. And so the question of who do you want to be allows them to wake up to what is important to them. And you as a parent, it allows you to see what your child or children view as valuable qualities that they want to cultivate. And now that you know and your child knows what qualities they want to cultivate in themselves. What qualities they find a value? Now you as the parent can help coach your child to become this person and cultivate the qualities of being a good human that they say are valuable to them. If you listen to the coach, your kids episode, a couple episodes back, this is where the coach role stands in. And I have asked my kids this question Okay. So you want to be this, this, and this. Is it alright with you then? If I help you become that, can I help you become that? Can I remind you when you're not being that? So can I remind you when you're not being kind? Can I remind you when you're not being respectful? And that's where the relationship of your children intrinsically being motivated to become these things and then you as the parent coach, the person helping them through life, but not playing the game, you get to step in and support your child in becoming who they want to become rather than telling them they should be this way, and they should do better, and they should be whatever you want them to be. Do we see how this feels like a much more empowering dynamic for both parties, the child and the parent? Because if we go back to this, remember that most people we want to cultivate good and positive qualities. I don't know about you, but, like, I didn't wake up today and be, like, How rude can I be to people today? I'd really like to push people's buttons. And even if you have a child who maybe has become a little rude, disrespectful, maybe they even have become a bully and just mean. Intrinsically, they probably don't wanna be those things. They probably have been being that role and have never been asked who they want to be. And then they get labeled that, and then they become that. The things we are labeled, we become more and more of that, or the things we believe we are, we become more and more of that. If your child is one that struggles with quote unquote good person positive attributes, and it seems like maybe they don't value them because they're actions don't line up with valuing those attributes. Maybe it's not a misalignment of, well, they just don't value being kind. Maybe they actually do, but no one has asked them if they do. So this allows the conversation to start. Now, most people want to develop these positive attributes. But let's say you have a kid and he's like, no. I just want to be mean to people. I want to be disrespectful and they just don't care about other people. Zero empathy. Do not value becoming a good human. Well, then we have a deeper issue. And we can tell them they should be all these things, but until they are intrinsically motivated to be these things, we are going to banging our heads against a wall to try to force them to care about something that they don't care about. Now I'm not just saying lecture could just be these qualities like, if they just wanna be disrespectful and rude and that's what they say they value, then the role of this exercise is for them to realize who they want to be. And for us to realize what they value and for us to come together and work together. Now let's say they value negative attributes, Now we know. Like, it's they they just don't want to be kind. So now the conversation shifts to why would be being kind be a valuable thing? What does it feel like when people are kind to them? What does it feel like when people are rude to them? What does it feel like when people treat you with respect? What does it feel like when people don't treat you with respect? Because now we have a core value issue and that's where the conversation needs to happen first, not their actions. Because if we're trying to just correct our child's actions, Like, you're not being kind. Well, they don't care about being kind, then that's the problem. That they don't care about being kind or respectful. The issue is not their actions. I mean and yes, their actions are an issue. But that is not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the belief or the value system that your child has picked up. Somewhere in their life. So then the conversation and the growth goes towards the value system, goes towards why they value being unkind or rude. And as many of us have lived a lot of life, we know that the times we're unkind and rude are often a protection for something. And so you work with that with your child. And then if they still are having trouble valuing these positive attributes, then you may need additional outside help. And there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, your kid just needs to talk to someone else. Maybe they just need outside help and it's time to get them that help that they need. But you may be able to work with them through their value system. And then if that works and they realize they actually do value these things, then it becomes easier for their actions to match what they value and you as a parent can be more effective in helping your child become what they value. I have found in working with lots of kids that intrinsically most people want these positive attributes. And you'll probably find that's the case with your kids. And like I'm saying, if you find that's not the case, then there's some deeper conversations to be had and it may be a light bulb moment for you as to why they don't act that way, why they don't act kind or respectful because they don't care about it, and then we work on the carrying. The fact is we can't force anyone to be anything. Now, we can try to use tactics like shame, blame, and guilt to get our children or other people to become who we want them to be. But like we talked about earlier, we don't just want children who act kind. We want children who want to be kind. We want to develop good humans and good humans come from internal beliefs and value systems. So we can shame blame and guilt them into being who we want them to be, but they will never truly be that way until they internally want it. And you will find most of the time your children internally want to develop good human qualities And now that they know that that's what they want and you know that that's what they want, now you can both work together to develop those and the growth in your children will be amazing because they are internally motivated. They aren't being told they should be anything. They are stepping into the person they want to be. So before we go, I'm going to give you the quick bullet point action steps to take with your child or children to get to the root of who do you want to be. This is what the conversation may look like and I highly recommend doing this one on one with your children. At some point, you'll do a family value talk about what you value as a family, and I'll do a different podcast on that. But for this conversation, how that one on one with each child you have. They know it's what they value, and you know it's what they value. And they're not just bouncing off of who their siblings want to be they are really tapping into who they want to be. The conversation may look like this. Now, I know initially I told you the first question to ask is who do you want to be that may be way too big for a question. You're like my kids will never know where to start with that. So if I were to start this conversation with my children, this is the order of the questions I would ask. I'd say, hey, you know your friend, so and so, or your friends at school, what do you like about them? What qualities do you like about them? And your children may need some prompting. Like, are they kind? Are they good listeners? Are they whatever? And as you're doing this, like, you can make this list in your head or on a piece of paper of the qualities they list that they like about their friends, then you can ask your child who do you want to be? Or what kind of person do you want to be? Or which of those qualities in your friends are important for you? Do you want to have as well? Or which of those qualities in your friends do you think you're good at as well? Or are important to you. So we can word this in a lot of different ways to get them to realize, this is what I value in other people, this is what I value in myself. Matt at that point, you'll kind of have a list of who do they want to be. So you can say who do you want to be? Do you agree? Do you want that you want to be respectful and mind, and consider it, and funny, and thoughtful, and friendly, and welcoming, whatever the words are. And be like, yeah, I wanna be those things. Then it's like, that's awesome. Like, I think those are all great things to be. And then you can have the conversation. Is it always easy to be those things? No. It's not always easy to be those things. And then the conversation may go on to, since these are important to you, would you like me to help you when you're not being things help remind you that you want to be those things. So when you're not being respectful to me and you care about being respectful, is it okay? If I remind you that you're not being respectful or help you know when you're not, they'll probably say, yeah, they may not like it. But remember that when you were reminding them of who they want to be, there's a lot more buy in from them because it's not saying, hey, you're being disrespectful to me. The thing is Remember, you said you wanna be respectful and you're not being respectful to me right now. That sounds very different. Right? So we frame this around who they want to be so that in that moment, they realize that they are not being who they want to be. Not who you said they should be, but who they want to be. And then I would take these qualities that they said they value and I would have them write them on paper or you write them down and these go on their wall or these go on your fridge These go somewhere where they can remember, and you can remember what qualities they value, what they're working towards, they will get better at reminding themselves of who they want to be, and you will be better at reminding them of who they want to be rather than shaming, blaming, and guilting them into who you want them to be. And the interesting thing is oftentimes who your kids intrinsically want to be It's the same type of person, the same type of qualities that you would want them to have. But now it's their idea. Now it's them, embodying, the person they want to be and you showing up to coach them through it. And as you work on this with your kids, remind them that this is never about perfection Look, and giving yourself as an example for your children is huge. For example, a quality I value or people who respond thoughtfully and calmly. I value that, but I do not always do that. And so I remind my children that Look, I did not respond thoughtfully or calmly, and I apologize. Perfection is never the goal. And so if we can remind our children of that, then the perfectionist mentality does not take over during this process, during this lifelong process of personal growth. And then As they grow up, we have these same conversations, so they can slowly hone in to what they value and who they're becoming. And I promise you as someone who has used this question and this growth strategy with my children for multiple years now. The amount of personal growth that our children have has been shocking to me. I would have never thought that this one question, this one way of framing helping them become good people, I would have never thought that it would have the effect that it has had on me helping them and them helping themselves. And then just truly innately, inherently being good people. We come into the world wanting to be good, and then things happen to us. And we harden ourselves, and we start to take up other traits because in the world of navigating humans, the kindest does not always come up on top. The most respectful is not always valued. And so our children and us included pick up coping skills throughout our life that are not necessarily qualities that we really want. We pick them up because they seem like a good idea at the time. We remind ourselves remind our kids that we will never be perfect and just remembering that as we practice, we become better. We become more successful at being the person we want to be more often. I hope this serves you and your family I cannot wait to hear from you if you try this with your family. Send me a d m at heather evans dot life on Instagram. If you try this with your kids because I would love to hear how this works in your family and how things change and evolve and grow, and how your children change evolving grow and you as well. Thank you for being here, and we'll talk to you next time. Bye.

Raising Good Humans
Cultivating Positive Qualities in Children
Sharing Family Experiences and Growth