In this episode of the parenting manual we discuss how and why we ask for feedback from our kids. Has this ever happened to you? You go out to a nice restaurant with some friends or coworkers. The server comes over, takes your order, goes back, brings out your food, and not even 60 seconds later, that same server comes back and asks you, how's your food? And of course, they've probably timed that question as soon as you've just filled your mouth with your first bite of food.

Summary and Quotes


[00:00:30] – Reflexive response
[00:03:36] – Opening dialogue, earned respect
[00:04:13] – Interview with my kid (at age 6)
Quotes from the Episode:
“I'm very aware off the ability of young kids to be very impressionable. So I try my best to ask questions that are not leading questions because I'm very, I'm very aware that it's possible for me to install opinions in my head, in my children.” [00:17:41]

Transcript continues below

The restaurant server's response is reflexive… a better way that would result not only in a better customer experience, but also in more actionable information for the business would of course, be for the server to come back as soon as the, the food has been delivered and ask, “is everything to your liking?” But then also to return at the end of the meal and say something like this.

“Our goal here is to continually improve not only with my job as a server, but also the back of the house. They're really interested in making sure you have a good experience here. So could I ask you, what was your favorite thing about the buffet here today? And then they'd ask what would be one thing that you'd like to see more of or that you thought was missing now?”

This is great because it's helping set up the customer to usefully answer that question. They're not asking you to rate something on some Likert scale of “very good, good, neutral, bad, really bad.” This way is conversational. The information the server receives from the customer can be translated into action. That can help to improve the business.

Why am I talking about this? Well, I started doing something very similar with my, yeah, as soon as he could talk so when he could start responding back to me, it was probably about two and I asked him how I could be a better dad, what would I need to do. To improve as a dad. And I would ask him something very similar I'd say, “Hey, what is the best thing that you like about me as a dad, what am I doing best?”

And then I'd ask him, “what's one thing that you'd like to see me do a better job at as a dad?” And of course the language was different when he was quite a bit younger, but you get the point. And so I want to right now share one of these sessions with him. This is the first time that my son. Has been in front of a microphone.

So he was kind of excited about that. And, and, and, he was very candid, as you will see in his answers about what I could be doing a better job at and also what he enjoys about me. So, he's six right now, just to give you a sense of this. So he's been doing this for maybe about two or three years.

You know, we don't do it all the time. Maybe. Once a month or so, we'll, we'll connect and we'll have a little session like this. It's not something that I write down or take notes on, but what it does is it really opens up that dialogue and it gives him an opportunity to know that I, I have room for improvement because we're really focused on practice here.

We're not focused on positional authority so much as we are earned respect. through competence, through practice. So with that being said, I'm going to let you listen to. This audio and hopefully it gives you some really interesting insights about the type of conversations that I wish that I had with my parents as a kid and give you a little window into and to how we run the house.

Is that, that feels pretty comfy right there. Yeah. Yeah. That's the microphone right there. So we want to keep our hands off that. Buddy, watch what happens. Can you hear this in yours? All right, and so if you touch that, I hear it in mine too. Yeah. So is this the first time you've ever had that headset on?

No. The first time you had the microphone. Yeah. But you have the headset a lot, right? Yeah. So Isaac, can I ask you a couple questions, buddy? Yep. We, we do this sometimes, right? Where I ask you how I'm doing as a dad and if I'm doing a good job or if I'm not doing a good job or if I could be doing a better job.

Right. And what, how am I doing as a dad right now? Good, and I think you just need to work a little bit harder for family. How so, buddy? Just because that's because I just want to, what do you want to see me do? I want to see you do this. What do you mean this? What's this. I mean, doing that, like recording podcasts and trying to try to help you and other people, what, what makes you, what makes you of all the things that I think you could work a little bit harder on.

What part of it I, I'm this, I think on your podcast, I think you just. I think you could do a little bit better. And what would that look like? What would mean doing better look like to you as my boy, but what? What would I have to do for you to say, yes, daddy's doing a good job. I think it just needs somehow what kind of help, buddy.

Hey, you're okay. You're doing, you're doing great, Isaac, buddy. You're doing great. What? What? Like, tell me what, that's what I just said. Well, how about, okay, so let me give you another, how about me as being a dad and being apparent to you? What, what am I doing good and what do I need to work more on?

I don't really know. I do understand. You don't understand. If I say, what do I need to do to be a better dad to you? You don't understand. I think you could work a little bit harder on what? On work? On work. What about with you? Yeah. Working with you. Yeah. I think that my . Naked a little better.

Like give me an example of one thing you'd want me to do differently or more of with you as a kid. Now give me an example buddy. Like, you know what? You're working with me right now. I think he, I think you could work a little bit better with me and what would I have to do. Work like me, like playing in the backyard and shooting your bow and arrow.

Yeah. And learning things with me. Like what kinds of things do you want me to learn with you? Shooting a Barrow shooter and stuff. And what about, how we play, how we do like your vision therapy. Good and do I work with you? How am I when I work with you with that? Good. And what could I what?

What do you like best about how I work with you with that vision therapy, with those things, or you pop them up like, am I patient? Do I yell at you during that? Should I yell at you? Are you sure? Don't yell at me. What about whacking you? Should I whack you? If not, why not? That's because that then I would whack my kids.

But you don't have any kids yet? No. I mean, when I grow up, that's what I'm saying. Cause you would learn from me. Yeah. Learn from you. And then I would whack and then they would work their kids and then they would the kids. But I don't want to teach them to be whacking people.

do you want to take an app? No. No. Oh no. Here, let me help you. Can you sit up while we do this? But so that they don't fall off your head again?

Yeah. Yeah. This is working, buddy. Oh, you mean you want me to show you how we're going to edit this up on the computer? Yeah. I'd be happy to show you that. Hey, let me ask you, but do you like more when we work with the sound stuff or when we work with the movie stuff on the video cameras, maybe stuff.

What do you think about this audio stuff where we just talk into the microphones and record it? You like it, but you like the movie stuff more? Hey Isaac, can I just ask you a couple more questions and then, cause I'm learning a lot of stuff here when I talk to you. What do you think about, how I work with your sister?

I think you working good. What? What could I do better? Maybe. Maybe if I like maybe if fire like. Like when when you're having a problem with Mia or when she's being a little grumpy. Yeah. If, if, if you came to me instead of try and solve it yourself and then maybe she gets frustrated with you.

Yeah. I should be more involved and I should pay more attention to that. Okay. Hey, one last thing. Talk about when there was like some horseplay going on at the playground after school the other day. And when, like when you were playing rough and grabbing at each other, and then, yeah. And what did I do?

How, what did we do? We got down and we, we wrestled and we showed the other kids that were being a little rough. How to wrestle like, like real wrestling, like just on the ground and talk about how that changed things for you. Pretty good. So nobody got really hurt cause my concerns with you playing rough was that people were throwing their hands around and they were climbing with their hands and they were pulling on clothes.

Right. I didn't like that. Right. And so then. I came in and I told everybody what, stop. And then you would grab on to me and Dane say like, ready, set, go away. Well, yeah, so we, we, we did, we told people not just to stop the, the horseplay, but then we said, try this instead. Right? We said try doing this instead.

And that was a more cause I was giving them what am more okay. Time and appropriate. I was giving them rules. Right. And kind of more appropriate. Yeah. And what was it like to have an adult there kneeling down on the grass. Telling you kids what the rules were going to be really fun. Why was it more fun to do it with an adult with rules as opposed to just flailing around and throwing your hands around yourself?

They don't like it when he pulled the math because it to me, as soon as pulling on your shirt. Yeah. And when we talked about the rules we talked about you're going to start, one person is on the top, one person's on the bottom, just like there's like school wrestling, right? Yeah. And then everybody liked those rules, right?

Well, all right, buddy. Tell, tell me one more thing. Other than work harder, what would you like to see your mom do more of? I think she could get . Ooh. Okay.

A piece of dirt on my hand, buddy. What could your mom do more of? I think she could help kids more like us if we got hurt. I think she could be around more if, if I got hurt, if she was tired. What about on a daily basis? What would you like to see your mom are you saying you'd like to see your mom around more on a daily basis?

I get her. She really knows what to do. What if you don't get hurt? What if just about on a daily basis, just like what. On day to day, you're not hurt right now. What would you like to see your mom do more of? Maybe she could teach me more things. You'd like to see her more involved in teaching your stuff cause she haven't in life.

She didn't teach me one single thing. Okay. So more, more formal teaching from mommy. More more practice teaching from mommy. You'd like to see. Yeah, but you are teaching me stuff. Well, shooting a Barrow shooter and like doing this. Yeah. Okay. Well this is good. Good to know. Isaac. You know, this is, I should be learning about this, right?

Well, this is kind of young for kids to learn about work right now, but I think it's good. Just like when we go up to the barn and we learn about horses and we learn about cows, we're learning about different kinds of work. So, but this is good. I like to ask this, this feedback from you, buddy, because that way I can get better.

And that way I know your mom has just starting to ask from feedback for you to see if we're doing a good job. And so I'll pass along what you'd like to see more from her on, and maybe you can talk to her directly from me. So I don't need to go on a sit down. Yeah. Well buddy, she is doing a great job trying to do that right now.

I can tell you, she might not tell you how much she works at that, but she's doing some really good work at trying to find you the right school for you with what? So right now, Isaac, Isaac is sitting on my lap and. He's pinching the tip of my finger, which is, which is pink. And then when he, he, he pinches it.

It turns kind of yellow and what's in my fingers? Isaac blood. What do you think? Ha you. So when you pinch my finger, what happens? It turns from pink to what color? Pinch it again. Yeah, LA, what do you think is happening to that blood when you pinch my finger going away. Going away. So what? Why does my finger turn yellow?

You have no blood in cause you're pinching it out of my finger. Very good. Good work. Good work bud. I appreciate that. So anything else before we close up? Shop here for the day, bud? No. No. All right. Why don't you stand up? We'll go, we'll go have some fun. Go talk to mommy. All right. I'll get up off the floor now.

All right. I love you buddy. All right, so there you have it. And one thing that I want to point out is that I'm very aware. Of the ability of young kids to be very impressionable. So I try my best to ask questions that are not leading questions because I'm very, I'm very aware that it's possible for me to install opinions in my head, in my children.

That is not what I want to do with this exercise that we go through when I'm asking these questions. I want them. To feel like there is no right answer, like I'm not fishing for an answer from them, which is why you'll notice I'll try and ask a lot of open ended questions as opposed to closed ended questions.

So closed ended questions can only be answered in a yes or no. And then open ended questions, of course, are great because you have to give an actual response to them. So an example of a closed ended question is, am I doing a good job? And I think I did actually lead with that. and you can respond to that by saying yes or no.

An example of, a better way to phrase that as an open ended question would be to say, what is something you'd like to see me improve on? Now, of course, the danger with that is I'm, Mmm. The way that you phrase that is that you're assuming that there is something that needs to be improved on. So of course we can all always improve, but where that can be kind of a challenge is if you say, well, what's one thing that I'm doing good?

Now if somebody thinks that you're not doing good at anything. You're kind of preconditioning them to think that they have to fish for something. So I am aware of that and it's something that obviously I don't want. I want this to be a useful exercise for, for my children and for me as a parent for a variety of reasons.

So hopefully you've taken something away from this. Let me know if you have any questions, if you have any comments and we'll see you in the next episode.

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For better or worse, kids repeat the parenting patterns they experienced as children. We explain the parenting decisions we made and their intended outcomes to equip our children with an understanding of their default behaviors so they can better navigate the world and find success in life…


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