Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conflict with your daughter, and the way it ended does not feel right? The situation had you wondering about every interaction with your daughter.
If that is the case, here are five essential open-ended questions that you can ask your daughter during a conflict or if you feel your interaction has gone awry.
Effectively using these questions depends on you connecting with yourself first so you can have more meaningfully connection with your daughter. Once that is done, then these five questions will help. They are:
• The Confirmation
• The Couch
• The Check-in
• The Coy
• The Contract
The Confirmation Question
This type of question is intended to confirm with your daughter that what you have heard is what she believes she conveyed to you. It is not the kind of question you want to ask with an attitude. It is a genuine, authentic inquiry, that earnestly asks:
• “What I heard you saying is…” or,
• “So what you are saying is…” or,
• “Did I hear you correctly…?”
In each scenario, you will repeat what you heard. You may be surprised how often you are hearing incorrectly.
The Couch Question
As moms, we desire to connect with our daughter’s feelings. These statements directed to her on a feeling level during a conflict will get you closer to making a connection:
• “I can see how that could make you feel…” or,
• “I can imagine how that could make you feel…” or,
• “I can see how you would feel…”
As a mom, have you ever been speaking with your friend after you have had one of those days? Your friend knows how to connect with your feelings because they will sit and listen while you vent.
The Check-in Question
After the Couch Question, your daughter will either be silent, or her body language will be less tense because she realizes that you understand her. After you have connected with her feelings, the Check-in Question goes like this: “So do you feel like I have heard you?”
This is one of the most vulnerable questions that a mom can ask her daughter. Why? Because you run the risk of your daughter responding with either:
• “No!” or,
• “I do not feel like you have heard me.” or,
• “You just do not get me.” or,
• “It is pointless. You don’t understand.”
These responses may be a bit off-putting for you as a mom because you have tried your best, both internally and emotionally, to connect with her.
It can also feel demotivating as a mom in that moment. However, if you just hang in there with an open heart after she says no, ask a confirmation question like, “So what you are saying is you don’t feel like I have heard you. What is it that I am doing to make you feel like I’ve not heard you?”
She might reply and say, “You’re talking over me.” or “You’re just not listening.”
In those moments, brace yourself and say, “Well, I really do want to hear you.”
These first three questions are essential because they will set the groundwork for how you build a bridge to connect with your daughter.
The Coy Question
Here you will convey to your daughter that you respect her boundaries. Remember it is in her court to decide what she wants or what she does not want to hear from you at the time. This question is good for your daughter, especially if she is entering her tween years and up.
Here are some examples:
• “Well, can I share some of my thoughts with you?” or,
• “Would you like to hear some of my thoughts now or later?”
If she says to you, “No, I do not want to hear it right now,” then you, as a mom, need to respect the boundary that she has put up and then ask a follow-up question. For example, “Is there a particular reason?” or “You seem pretty tense?”
You are trying to check in with her about her reasons for putting up that boundary, and if she does not want to explain it or does not have the words to explain it right now, then pause and think internally. An excellent way to respond to her in these moments is to say, “I am here for you when you want to talk about it again.”
The Contract Question
The Contract Question is more about trying to have a preliminary agreement about when you can reconvene. The Contract Question sounds like this:
• “How can we continue?” or,
• “Where would you like to go from here?” or,
• “Would there be a better time for us to continue this conversation?” or,
• “Well, why don’t we try to continue this conversation when you are…”
In each response, be sure to personalize it to the conflict.
The five open-ended questions that you can ask during a conflict with your daughter are:
• The Confirmation question: “So what you are saying is….”
• The Couch question: “I can see how you would or could feel.”
• The Check-in question: “Do you feel that I have heard you?”
• The Coy question: “Can I share some of my thoughts with you?” or, “Would you like to listen to some of my thoughts now or later?”
• The Contract question: “How can we continue from here?” or “Where would you like to go from here?”
I would love to hear how it goes for you as you try these five open-ended questions.
Connect with me by emailing me at [email protected].
© Dr. Michelle Deering | All rights reserved.