Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Blogger - Glynnis Whitwer

This morning I would like to welcome Glynnis Whitwer to My Thoughtful Spot.

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 350,000 daily readers.  She is the author of When Your Child is Hurting, work@home: A Practical Guide for Women Who Want to Work from Home), and co-author of a Bible studies series entitled Kingdom Living.    Her next book will be released in 2011 and it titled, I Used to be So Organized.   

Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five teenagers live in Glendale. Together they run two home based businesses, an Internet retailer ( and an environmental consulting firm.  Visit her blogs for more information:    
The Skill of Conversation

Every parent knows the frustration of asking a child, “How was your day?” Only to be answered, “Good.”  We may have heard that comes with the territory. I think it may have more to do with how the parent posed the question. 
Good conversation, even for adults, isn’t always easy.  Learning to ask carefully thought-out questions may take advance planning. We can even make it a game for the little ones.
Good conversation usually starts with small talk.  As adults we might talk about the weather, a television show, or an outfit someone is wearing.  In this stage, we practice polite rules of conversation, such as looking the other person in the eye, paying attention, and allowing her to respond without interrupting.  When speaking with someone who is polite and interested, we naturally want to continue.
We carry on small talk normally with our children, but we are often doing something else like fixing dinner, folding clothes, or driving.  To teach children these basic manners, try sitting down at a table over milk and cookies.  Practice eye contact, and affirming mannerisms, like nodding of the head and agreeing with the comment.
If there is a comfort level to continue, many conversations will lead into experiences, thoughts, and opinions.  Obviously, children will speak on very different topics, but the practical tips for carrying on a more significant conversation with another child can be very helpful to establish a friendship. Here are some helpful tools for talking with a friend:

Listen with your whole body.  Show your friend that you are paying attention by facing her, leaning forward in your seat and looking her in the eye.

Make a positive comment and follow it with a question.  Examples: “I love your outfit.  Where did you get it?”  “Dave, you’re great at soccer.  How long have you been playing?” 

Show genuine interest in your friend.  Ask about his life, family, likes, hobbies, and activities.  The point of most conversations is to learn about the other person.

Ask open-ended questions when possible:  Not:  Did you like the movie?  But:  What was your favorite part of the movie? 

Don’t disagree in the beginning of a friendship.  If your friend loved the part of the movie you disliked, don’t volunteer that information.  Keep the conversation positive.

It can be helpful to write out questions your child can use with friends.  Have her memorize them rather than pull out the 3”x5” card from her pocket on the playground.  You might write questions like this:
     - What did you do this weekend?
     - What’s your favorite sport to play?  Why?
     - What do you like best about school?
     - What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
     - What’s your favorite TV show?
     - Tell me about your family.
     - If you could decorate your room any way you want, what would you do?
     - What would your favorite dinner include?
     - If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
     - If you could give away $1,000, who would you give it to?

This article is taken from Glynnis’ book, “When Your Child is Hurting.”  It’s available through Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Glynnis, thank you for taking the time to share these tips with us today! I know I learned a lot from them!
Readers, please share with us any thoughts or ideas you may have to add to the topic of conversation skills and your comments for Mrs. Whitwer. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. So excited that you shared your link on Moms Together. I've got four girls and my second one is just recently beginning in a friendship group at school because she spent most of her life so far retreating into herself due to her mental illness. These tips you're sharing here are super helpful. I'm printing this out to work on with her. Thanks for featuring Glynnis. See you over on MT!


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