I once heard a preacher say, “A question convicts a conscience but and accusation hardens the will.” I have never forgotten that.
When you ask someone a question, they consider their actions. When you accuse some one of something, they automatically go into defense mode.
So in parenting, let’s say one of your children gets angry at another one of your children and punches his brother until his brother starts crying (hypothetically speaking). Instead of accusing which leads to more anger, “You are such a bully, keep your hands to yourself,” you could try questioning, “What is the rule about punching in this house?” This may not result in any less drama, but it does cause my child to think about what he did wrong.
It applies in marriage. Let’s say your husband and you get into an argument over money. He spends too much, you never spend at all (again, hypothetically speaking). Instead of saying, “You don’t care about our finances,” you could try, “what did you think we could use this for?”
Now I will say it is best to avoid using the question, “Why?” because why can often come across as accusatory. ”Why did you do that, (you idiot)!” Also, “What were you thinking?” doesn’t count either.
It takes a lot of self control to question before you accuse but this small change can be the very thing thats allows you to get beneath an argument to the deeper issue of what is causing the argument. In parenting, it can allow your child to take ownership for their actions rather than you telling them for the 100th time what they did wrong and what the consequences will be. It also communicates to the other person that you truly want to understand them.
Proverbs 20:5 says this…
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.
I want to learn to draw out what is in the heart of those I love, not jump to conclusions because I am frustrated by their actions. I in doing so, I hope that my loved ones will do the same for me when I mess up.