First, let your children do the work. YSS is a process of self discovery – to do that, they will need to answer the questions in their own words from their own thoughts and feelings. The more you tell them what you think and feel BEFORE they have thought about a question, the less likely they are to formulate their own unique opinion.
Second, on the flip side!, feel free to discuss the material with your child. You may choose to ask them first to describe the material, what they learned, what they found interesting, what they think, what they feel and with what they agree/disagree. As the conversation develops, your own thoughts and feelings will inevitably enter the picture but as a reflection to their own opinions, helping to increase their awareness and clarify their beliefs.
Third, try not to judge your child’s opinions. You may disagree with what your child has to say and, as a parent, by all means you have the right to express your disagreement, but try to remember that the manner in which you express your disagreement will either foster a relationship of trust and exploration versus one of shame and embarrassment. For instance, “That’s ridiculous!” will provide a much different experience for your child than “Wow, I hear your point but have you thought about…?” or “What do you think of…?” The degree to which you are open to your children exploring themselves, including parts of themselves that may differ from you, will determine how willing and able they are to be themselves.
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