It’s an innocent enough question, really: “Are you sure?” We say it all the time. We use it as a check and balance, an accountability measure, a reassurance. We have to be careful, though, because sometimes it can actually become an undermining question, especially when we use it with our kids.
My husband tells a very funny story about his mother asking him when he was a teenager: “do you mean to go out of the house looking like that?” The underlying message, of course was clear. Couching our disapproval in the form of a question doesn’t fool anyone.
So pay attention to the intent of your question, and watch your language. Are you SURE you want to ask your kid if he remembered his lunch or turned in his homework? Perhaps, you might ask, instead, what s/he has done to confirm it was completed. That way, instead of calling the decision into question, you’re focusing on the process of decision-making – which is certainly something our kids could use! Ok, something all of us could use!