As kids grow up, their opinions, best friends, and personalities change tremendously.Parents needs to check in with their kids using questions that not only get the kids thinking, but also help you, the parents, keep up with the quickly growing, mini-adult living in your home.
One day—maybe sooner than you think, your kids will turn into teenagers. Have you heard stories about the horrors of raising teens? Don’t worry, it is not as bad as you think! In fact, parents can work right now to build a solid foundation with their kids which will make the transition to the teen years much smoother. Improving your communication is one important way you can prepare for those rapidly approaching teen years.
In my book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” (http://www.radicalparenting.com/books-and-products/book-youre-grounded/) I suggest some great questions that will help you to get to know your kids, questions are that are character defining. Here are a few of my favorites,and do feel free to expand these into some great, get-to-know-each-other conversations:
Conversation Starters to Get to Know Your Kids:
1. What is the hardest thing about your life, what do you worry about most?
2. Is there something that you wish I knew about you?
3. What are three words to describe you?
4. What do you think is the most important quality a person can have?
5. How were you different five years ago from who you are now? What do you think you will be like five years from now?
These questions are meant to not only help you get to know each other, but also to help get your child thinking about her own identity. By discussing these issues with her in an open-minded fashion, she knows she can come to you when she is trying to figure herself out…and when you want to figure her out as well. If you liked these tips and are interested in learning more about the non-verbal cues of kids, tweens, and teens please check out my book “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?”
Here are some more: 20 Teen and Tween Conversation Starters (http://www.radicalparenting.com/2008/06/02/table-topics/
Vanessa Van Petten is the creator of RadicalParenting.com, a parenting website written from the teen perspective to help parents understand teenagers. She is also the author of the newly released parenting book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” (http://www.radicalparenting.com/books-and-products/book-youre-grounded/)