Along with the gift of speech that youngsters acquire during the first several months of life, they also come with the gift of great curiosity. They ask endless questions, wanting explanations for all sorts of things that come to their attention. You usually don’t have to wonder what a young child is thinking – they most usually are talking about it.
Then comes the pre-teen, teen years, where we parents often feel like we need classes from the FBI on eliciting information from a “subject” (ie, our kid). One or few word answers become more the norm. We have to get skillful at finding out what they’re feeling, their hurts, likes, dislikes, opinions, and their joys.
From time to time it is a good idea to spend a family time together just asking questions of one another. Conversation with our kids, that is not instructive, directional, corrective should be the most common kind of conversation in our homes, but often isn’t. So, tonight, have some great conversation starters, that are open-ended – no right or wrong answers.
Be sure to have some for all ages of your kids. A steady habit of this kind of conversation hopefully will become your habit.
A few fun discussion starters might be helpful:
- “Tell about the favorite gift you ever received.”
- “Finish the sentence: I wish all people would___”
- “Tell about your favorite sport and why you like it.”
- “Tell about a time you needed courage.”
- “What is your dream car and why?”
- “Tell about your all time favorite teacher and why?”
- “What adventure would you like to experience?”
- “Which of your senses do you value the most and why?”
Be sure the adults participate fully in the evening’s discussion. Finish the evening by praying together, using things from the discussion tonight in your family prayer.
As always, be sure you end with a great treat of some sort, and perhaps an age appropriate board game.