I read a reference to the phrase “QBQ” on Preschoolers and Peace (I think?) recently, so I decided to check out QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life and the companion book Parenting the QBQ Way: How to be an Outstanding Parent and Raise Great Kids Using the Power of Personal Accountability. At first it seemed a little gimmicky, but I’m glad I read both books because there are some great insights when you boil it all down.
It will only take you 20 minutes to read QBQ (seriously, some of the “chapters” are a paragraph long), which is really 15 minutes longer than you need to absorb the core concept:
Take personal responsibility rather than shifting blame by cutting out “Why” “Who” and “When” questions and replacing them with “How” and “What” questions.
But wait! That flies in the face of everything we know about journalism and book reports! It’s ok, there is a little bit more to it. 🙂
The thing is, when you think about it, questions like “Why is this happening to me?” or “Who colored on the wall?” or “When is someone going to notice that I need help?” make you into a victim. It’s unproductive. It’s silly to wait around for other people or circumstances to change, when you can only really control your own responses.
So the QBQ idea is that you take personal responsibility by asking better questions that focus on what YOU can do.
“How can I help this situation?” and “What can I do to move this project forward?” are better ways of approaching problems. In parenting, getting out of the whiny “Why won’t my kids listen to me?” mode and into a “What can I do to make my expectations clearer?” or “How can I enforce consequences more consistently?” is more productive.
The parenting book also contains helpful tips on teaching your kids to ask better questions and take personal responsibility rather than shifting blame and whining.
If you only have time for one quick read on this idea, I thought Parenting the QBQ Way was better written and more helpful, so I’d recommend that one.
What do you do to encourage your kids (or yourself!) to take personal responsibility?
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