4 Ways to Move from Judgement to Curiosity — Learn Patient Advocacy
As a mom and advocate for kids with disabilities, I get frustrated with so much focus being on a child’s behaviour. I’ve had teachers and school administrators tell my kid to be quiet when having a meltdown, versus trying to support them. I’ve heard other parents make judgements about a child based on their behaviour instead of being compassionate.
Focusing on a child’s behaviour does nothing to help the situation. Rather, it allows biases, judgement and assumptions to take root and cloud what’s really happening.
Being curious about the behaviour versus judging the behaviour is the best way to support any child.
#1 Open mindset
Here’s the thing about curiosity. When you’re curious, you allow your mind to explore all possibilities. You’re open to new ideas, opinions and perspectives.
The simple shift to a curiosity mindset can be a gamechanger.
The first time I was introduced to this concept was during a webinar on supporting kids with behavioural challenges. One of the speakers commented that the focus needs to be on solving the problem, not the behaviour.
Afterall, in the majority of cases, the behaviour is a result of an unmet need or problem that needs solving.
By being curious, parents, caregivers, teachers and support staff are able bring a new perspective to supporting the child .
#2 No assumptions
The other benefit of a curiosity mindset is it releases you from having to know the answer on the spot or make assumptions about what is happening. This doesn’t dismiss your experience or connection to the situation, rather it gives you permission to be open to a variety of possibilities.
I often invite the individuals who support my child to be curious when discussing a challenge. Why is he avoiding doing math? Instead of saying he doesn’t like sitting still (which is an assumption), approaching the avoidance from curiosity means exploring a variety of reasons for his math avoidance.
#3 Ask questions
I’m curious about what type of math he’s avoiding. Is it new concepts, times tables or all math? I’m curious about what subjects he enjoys and how we can incorporate math into these areas, in small ways. I’m curious about his thoughts on math (recognizing the importance of involving the child in solving the problem so they feel included and have ownership). I’m curious about how other kids in the class are engaged with math. I’m curious about my teaching style and how it connects with students’ learning profiles.
You can see how these curiosity statements move the focus from the child’s avoidance to problem solving.
#4 Powerful tool
Going beyond supporting kids, a curiosity mindset is a powerful tool in all aspects of our lives. Imagine the difference if we used curiosity in our conversations with our children, spouses, friends, colleagues and family.
I think of all the unnecessary conflict that could have been avoided if I’d been curious about what someone was saying instead of making assumptions about what they meant, getting defensive or discounting their words because I disagreed with their viewpoint.
Having seen the success of a curiosity mindset in supporting my child , I now ask more curiosity led questions in my daily interactions. And guess what? It’s avoided a lot of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and wrong directions.
Why? Because by being curious, I’m able to park my ego and assumptions. I’m open to input from others and exploring a variety of scenarios.
I encourage you to take a curiosity mindset for the next 24-hours in all your interactions. Each time you think you have a solution or are tempted to make a judgement, lean in to your curiosity.
How did leading with curiosity change the interaction? Benefit the relationship? Solve the problem?
Now imagine if what difference it would make if you moved from judgement to curiosity in all your daily interactions. Powerful shifts would begin to happen!
Originally published at https://learnpatientadvocacy.com on November 22, 2022.