My last article was Dad’s 30 Second Check-Up. This is the time I would ask my greatest critics (my kids), how they thought I was doing as a dad. But that conversation is not the only important talk I have with my children. I have attempted to be deliberate in my communication with my son and daughter but make a conscious effort to keep the setting informal- an off-the-cuff type of atmosphere.
I want to avoid a Family Meeting feeling.
Here are a few other topics I address with my kids several times each year. I ask these questions while just hanging out with each child, one-on-one. These questions should be asked at different times. Otherwise the feeling of being interrogated will hover over the conversation.
3 Important Questions for a Dad to Ask
1. Has anyone ever touched you in your private places? Listen.
2. Is anyone bullying you? Listen.
3. Has anyone asked you to keep secrets from your mom or me? Listen.
Then I would remind them, “God has given me the responsibility to keep you safe. That is why I ask you these questions. You can tell me anything and trust me to handle whatever you tell me in a way that will be safe and protect you.” Because I started asking these questions when they were young, they did not see them as unusual, scary, or even intrusive. It was just a regular Dad’s Check-In!
What types of issues do your kids face? Have you had conversations about these concerns?
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
By Kirk Weaver, author and founder of Family Time Training. FTT trains an average of 8,000+ family members each year. Kirk has written eight books containing Family Time object lessons. Contact Kirk at Family Time Training.
NOTE from Lori and Becky: If your child is experiencing bullying, how you handle it depends on the age of the child. For more information on bullying go to www.youtube.com/loriwildenberg or read The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso.
If you discover your child is being sexually abused, consult a professional counselor and the local authorities.
With any of the above situations, keep the lines of communication open with your child. Stay calm. Love. Listen. Provide a safe place and atmosphere for the child to talk and express emotion.