Talking with my teenagers can be like navigating a mine field. Knowing just where to step to avoid a total shut down, knowing which path to in order to spark a conversation, knowing where the treacherous potholes are so you don't fall into a no win situation are all essential to a successful gab session.
But what about really understanding what your teen thinks? What he or she feels? What he or she values?
In our house, this is especially challenging because we have a 6 year old, an 9 year old, a 12 year old, a 14 year old, and a 16 year old. Conversation happens when one child can out yell his or her sibling. NOT conducive to deep and meaningful communication.
We wanted to combat this cycle of day to day chatter that wasn't helping us get to know our kids better.
We wanted to create meaningful time together for us with our children.
We wanted for them to get to know us in a new and different way.
We started a family book club. Our older boys, my husband, and I all read the same book. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. We had to actively restrain ourselves from talking too much about it as we were reading because we wanted to save our stimulating conversation for our actual ˜meeting ™.
What we found through our family book club is that our kids do want to talk. They do want to express their thoughts and ideas. Our book club created a safe way for them to tell us what they think and feel about a variety of topics that came up because of Outliers. It also afforded them a way to get to know us better. We see each other more as individuals and people rather than simply parent and child, and this is a great thing.
Try a family book club. You just may learn something about your kids that you never knew!
Next up for us: A book read with our younger kids, and the next book club with the book selection chosen by one of the teenage boys. Can't wait to learn more about my kids!
Misa Ramirez, a former middle and high school teacher, is the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola (January ™09) and Hasta la Vista, Lola! (2010) from St. Martin's Press Minotaur. Her writing has been in Woman's World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and she has a children's book published. Visit her web sites: http://misaramirez.com ; http://chasingheroes.com ; http://parentadvocatesforargyleschools.edublogs.org/