The Child Must Have A Question

The general question you want your child to come to is, “What must I do to alleviate this frustration?” Without this initial question there is no motivation (fuel) for realization. To get the thinking started, ask questions that require reflection. First ask general questions, then get more specific, but. never give more information than necessary.

General question – “What do you think you could do to make this more legible?”

More Specific – “When you wrote this did you go fast, medium or slow? Which way do you think would produce the best-looking letters?”


A child who comes from a system of interaction that allowed her omnipotence to remain dominant will associate safety with keeping control over things. This manifests as a need to be perfect and a resistance to anyone telling her what to do. So when an adult tells her what she is doing wrong, or what she should be doing that she is not, she is naturally resistant. Taking information from others (learning) feels unsafe or out-of-control, whereas coming to new conclusions on her own reinforces her need to feel her independence.

I used to run a mentoring program for children ages seven to twelve. Once a week the adult mentors led a philosophical discussion with the children about various social, moral and ethical issues.  We had a very strict rule that the adults in the room, including the moderator of the discussion, could only ask questions; never give answers or opinions. These discussions were wildly successful. They forced the adults to think deeply about what they wanted to communicate and it created an atmosphere of structured respect and freedom where the children owned the conversation and felt at ease to speak their minds.

When an adult is giving a child information and conclusions about her behaviors, they are denying the child the opportunity to gather information and reach conclusions on her own. When you lead a child to reach conclusions on her own, the child will be more likely to remember and use those conclusions because they are paired with the feelings of accomplishment at having figured it out herself.