“Is there a gun in the house, and, if so, is it locked away?” and why asking simple and good questions such as “what is the rating of the movie they will watch?” or “will they wear seat belts?” or “is your dog friendly?” or “can we talk about my child’s food allergies?” will support our children’s experiences, parenting, and the value of community at BFS.
I cannot remember how many times I’ve encouraged parents to ask these and other questions as they forge relationships with one another, nurture a feeling of community at and away from school, and join in the shared endeavor of supporting, hosting, and developing relationships between their children.
I believe it’s a good idea to begin asking (and receiving/talking through/answering) these kinds of questions sooner than later, while children are still young (ages 3-7) and relationships between them (and their parents) are being forged. These are good questions to ask as parents develop an honest and working dialogue about children, values, and expectations. The goal is not to seek out differences, form judgments, or limit discussions. Rather the opportunity is to be clear and direct with one another, to be open about things (because the answers vary – and that’s okay), and, at the very least, to establish that we can talk about these and other things when they relate to our children.
And, believe me, it’s really worth the investment in this type of dialogue. Not only will it promote good communications, trust, and greater calm between parents – while setting the stage for more positive and increased interactions between children – it will set you (and our community and the culture we value) up for the next round of questions when your children approach the teen years:
“Will you be home for the entire party?”
“ Have you been observing what the kids are saying to and about one another on the group chat?”
“If they are dropped off in town or at a movie theater, will you still be nearby?”
“Who will be driving them home?”
More about the “loaded question” in an article on Parents.com.