Friday, February 19, 2016

# church # parenting

How to Conduct a Heart-to-Heart with "The One"

In my last blog post I discussed how to deal with a difficult child in Primary. I called this child "the one". Sometimes "the one" needs a little timeout in the hallway with a leader. This timeout should be productive. So, we will conduct a "heart-to-heart". The "heart-to-heart" is a conversation between the child and the leader meant to resolve any issues. This is also very much applicable to your children on any given day.

Here is my outline of how to conduct a "heart-to-heart".

1) Remember that you're talking to a precious son or daughter of God.

2) Use a soft voice, and look at the child with soft eyes when you speak. 

3) AVOID ASKING "WHY?" !  If you ever ask a child "why" he or she did something, you're most likely going to get the answer, "I don't know." A child will not respond well to "why". The key is to ask a “curious” question (ex. I’m curious to know…) or a “what” question (ex. What is it about Primary that you don’t like today?) See the following examples of what NOT to do and what TO DO.

NO: Why are you talking?
YES: I noticed you have lots to say today. What’s on your mind?

NO: Why aren’t you sitting in your chair?
YES: I’m curious to know if your chair is bothering you today. What is it about your chair that makes you not want to sit in it? If it’s not the chair that’s bothering you, is there something else?

4) Listen. Let the child speak without interrupting. Look at him/her while he/she speaks. Give him/her all your attention.

5) Validation & Empathy. I child needs validation to let them know that what they are saying is important. “I can see why that would bother you.” Or “That sounds like it would be very difficult.”
Show that you care with some verbal feedback like, “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.”

6) Lead child to solve his/her own problem. “What could you do fix that problem?” Or "how could you change that?" 

7) Give feedback on the plan that that child comes up with. If it's a good plan say something like, “That sounds like a great idea. Try that.” If you know that the plan isn't going to work say, “Let’s think about that. If we did that, what do you think would happen?” The child may come up with a new plan. Repeat until the plan is a promising one.

8) Offer help. “Is there something I can do to help?” 

9) Offer encouragement. “You’re a good kid. I know that you can do this. Let’s go back in and try it out.” 

10) Ask, "Would you like me to sit by you?" This gives the child an ally if he/she wants it. 

At this point you can take the child by the hand or give them a side hug and lead them back into Primary. Hopefully the child will feel better and will begin putting the plan into practice.

I've used this plan before with my own children at home and it is great. (Sometimes it pays off to have a mother who is a Marriage & Family Therapist.) This outline keeps us calm and gets us to where we need to be. I hope you find this helpful.

Let me know how it goes!

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