We had one of our most animated and laughter-filled programs a few weeks ago. Each girl was asked to fill in a worksheet as much as she wanted to. She answered simple questions about favorite foods, activities she liked, YouTube channels she watched, etc.
Then each girl got to choose one of the answers and come to the front of the class and play a modified game of Pictionary in which she drew clues on the white board until the group guessed the item she had chosen to share. When the answer was guessed, even the most shy, quiet girls took a few minutes and answered questions like, “what makes that your favorite?” “When did you get interested in that?” “What do you like most about it?”
We often think that teens don’t like talking. They often give one-word answers or grunts and they rarely start conversations with parents or adults unless they have to, right? But what is equally as true is the fact that they really want to share things and be known; they just want to choose how and when they share.
A big take away from this particular activity is that giving each girl freedom to choose what she shared somehow gave her a sense of power to share more. We had all the girls begging to get second and third chances to share that day. When our time was over, they were still asking to play.
Life is affording us a lot more time to be with our kids during this Shelter at Home. Why not try giving your daughter or son a chance to enter into a conversation that seems fun and innocuous? It just might allow them to open up and share things you wouldn’t normally hear. Try asking things like:
“If you could only eat 5 foods for the rest of your life, what would you choose?”
“Remember when you used to like ________? What would you say takes its place now?”
“Tell me about your favorite YouTuber. What makes you like them?”
“What do you think of ________ (name a popular musician or personality)?”
We are living in uncharted territory. If you have any questions or concerns about kids (especially teens) in your life, please reach out to us. We would love to help you.