The Joy of Being Known

by Scott Noelle

Think of a beloved friend or family member who knows you so well s/he can practically “read your mind.” Someone who knows what pleases you without having to ask.

Doesn’t it feel good to be known like that?

Children naturally want to be known by their parents in that way. But parents inadvertently weaken that connection when they constantly ask their kids what they want.

The idea that it’s rude not to ask comes from our culture of alienation. In cultures of intimacy, to be asked one’s preferences is to be treated like a stranger.

Improve Your Groove

Today, whenever you’re about to ask your child’s preference, first ask yourself if you already know enough to make a choice that will please him or her. If not, go ahead and ask. If so, act without asking.

If your child objects to your decision, simply take in the new “data” and adjust course, this time or the next. Now you know your child a little better.

Originally published on 2006-06-14
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