Last Thursday marked the end of our Back-to-School nights. It is always an exciting time of the year when parents get to know their child’s teachers, learn about the curriculum, begin to put faces to the individuals our children come home and talk about, and get a sense of the teacher’s drive and passion for all that is ahead for our kids throughout the year. I hope you enjoyed each and every one of the nights.

Last week, I wrote about letting our children get to know us. How about turning that question around? Do we really know our children? At a recent discussion with a teacher, she made the comment that her students tell her that they are “themselves” here at school, and “put on a front” at home to help them deal with parents and parental pressures. Really? I was surprised, but it raised the question again in my mind: Who are our children?

In our busy lives, sometimes we need to stop and consider how well do we really know our own youngsters. So often, we are giving instructions, resolving arguments, answering endless requests and not truly communicating with them to the point that we can’t appreciate their unique personalities. Years ago, I ran across a list of questions for parents to help them get to know their children better. Let me share this list with you. It may be worth a conversation. And as follow up to most of the questions is the question, why?

  • What really makes your child angry?
  • What really makes your child happy?
  • Who is your child’s best friend?
  • What color would your child like his or her room to be?
  • Who is your child’s hero?
  • What embarrasses your child most?
  • Will your child prefer a vanilla milkshake, a hot fudge sundae, or strawberry shortcake?
  • What’s your child’s biggest fear?
  • In physical education or in sports, will your child rather play basketball, do exercises, or do relays?
  • What is your child favorite subject at school?
  • What is the subject your child dislikes most?
  • What nicknames does your child have at school?
  • Does your child want a nickname?  What would they pick as a nickname?
  • What is your child’s favorite music?
  • What is your child’s favorite bible verse or bible story?
  • What is your child’s biggest complaint about the family?
  • What are they most proud of with their family?
  • If you could buy your child anything in the world, what would be his or her choice?
  • What’s your child’s favorite TV show? Or movie? Or board/electronic game? Or place to visit?
  • What is your child proudest of in their list of accomplishments?
  • What has been the biggest disappointment in your child’s life?
  • If you give your child family chores, what’s his or her favorite and least favorite?
  • What’s your child’s favorite book?
  • Does your child feel too small or too big for his age?
  • What gifts from you does your child cherish most?
  • What person from outside your family has influenced your child’s life?
  • When does your child like to do homework?  After school, after supper, before bed, or in the morning before school?

The list can go and on, but I think it would be fun to ask some of those questions, because we just may find out that we are shocked by the answers. And we may have that “deer and the headlights” look that our kids love to see in us occasionally when we say, “I never knew that.”  It can also set up the situation, in a non-threatening way, for our kids to start asking us some of the very same questions. Who knows, you just may be at that dinner table for quite some time!

Have a great start to the fall season. Best wishes to you!