Children grow and change rapidly, both physically, academically and emotionally. As parents, we strive to help our children understand who they are, what they believe in, and how to be independent and competent adults. Our children are unique, and we need to help them grow into their authentic selves with love and acceptance.
Have you heard of Self-awareness? Developing a sense of independent self is one of the primary tasks of adolescence, but children desire to understand themselves and the world long before they reach their teen years. Self-understanding helps all of us navigate life and build meaningful connections. Without it, we feel lost and alone.
Benefits of understanding yourself include:
- Ability to regulate your emotions and moods
- Satisfying relationships with others
- A strong sense of self-worth
- Achieving your goals
- Independent thought
- Acting in alignment with your beliefs
- Ability to respond rather than react
- Thoughtful decision-making
We want our children to understand and recognise their feelings, to be able to calm themselves when they’re upset, and to have the coping skills to overcome struggles. We want our children to think for themselves, to develop their own ideas, and to recognise that they can have feelings and beliefs of their own. The following twenty questions are great conversation starters that will help your child begin to develop and focus with purpose on their own self-awareness. Keep in mind that when planning a “sharing” conversation, that the time and place matter. Some families find quiet time before bed a great time to pose a few questions. Some find walking on a beach or while doing something creative like painting, a few questions can allow kids to opened up. If you begin sharing a few of the questions and the answers are not flowing, there is no harm in changing direction and finding a better time.
Questions to help children know and understand
- What are your strengths?
- Who do you talk to when you have a problem? How do they help?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What are you worried about?
- What do you wish others knew about you?
- If you could have one wish, what would it be?
- Where do you feel safest?
- If you were afraid, what would you do?
- What does failure mean to you? Have you ever felt like a failure? How did you cope?
- How can you tell that you’re getting angry? What does your body feel like? What are you thinking?
- How are you different?
- What’s something that adults (parents, grandparents, teachers, etc.) say to you that’s really stuck with you? Do you think they’re right?
- What do you do when people don’t seem to like you?
- What is your proudest accomplishment?
- What things are in your control? What’s out of your control? How does it feel to notice that some things are out of your control?
- What do you do when you’re stressed out?
- What’s something nice you could say to yourself?
- What do you do when you’re feeling down? Do you think it’s OK to cry? Do you think it’s OK to yell?
- What are you grateful for?
- What do you like about yourself?