The Value of Questions

Posted on September 17, 2010 · Posted in Communication

Your teenager is facing a difficult decision. He is unsure of how he should respond. After trying to figure out what to do, and becoming more and more frustrated, he decides to ask you, his parents, what you think he should do.  Sadly, for too many families, this is the one scenario that would not happen.

What would be the case in your family? Do your teenagers eagerly reach out to you for advice and direction?  Or are they closed about personal decisions? Do they seem reluctant to seek your thoughts? Some of you, at least, will fit into this latter category.

How did this happen?  How do children grow not to trust their parents?  I believe that at least one answer to this question has to do with parents seeing the value of questions.  Young children tend to ask questions about everything and everyone they encounter.  However, over time these questions begin to decrease in number.  And then as the teen years happen, the questions and conversation about life and its difficulties vanish.  There is a direct correlation between having children ask questions that really matter and the amount of time that you have invested in really listening to your children.  During the teenage years the questions that your children ask you are an indication of how much they value your thoughts.

Again, give this some thought. If there are struggles in your relationship with your teenagers, consider the questions that they ask you, or more importantly, the questions that they don’t ask.

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.