The Search Institute has just updated its Conversation Generator ... a fun and easy way to get a conversation started with kids.
The questions and suggestions are worded in a kid friendly way around important and sometimes awkward topics. You can also use the questions or suggestions as a template and make your own conversation starter filling in your topics or scenarios.
Check it out at:
A few other suggestion to consider along with the Conversation Generator:
Consider the setting you choose for talking.
Some kids prefer face to face, eye to eye, and uninterrupted conversations. Others are more apt to share while driving in the car without eye contact. Boys seem to prefer when talks happen during a shared activity, such as fishing or fixing a car or hiking. Some kids prefer electronic means of talking such as texting or chat or instant messaging. Even others prefer a written communique where one person writes and the other responds back in writing,
More than likely, a combination of all these techniques will work best for most kids ... and more than likely, the Conversation Generator will help adults come up with new topics to help keep the dialogue ongoing.
Don't take it personally if your teen seems to be distracted or even ignores you.
They're listening. And they're glad you're interested in what you're asking. Give them a chance to respond. If it's not right away, let them know you'd like to hear their response when they are ready to share it. And when they're ready, put down the newspaper, or close your laptop and listen!
Help them develop a support network in addition to you.
It is crucial to encourage teens to develop a support network of adults, in addition to their parents, that can help them navigate through the teen years. Truth is, many teens are reluctant to share details with their parents about sex, drugs and alcohol.for fear of embarrassment or being grounded from hanging out with friends. So it's important for kids to know what their community resources are just in case.
Most teens would rather talk to their friends. Talking with friends is great, but it is important to remember that teens are functioning with teen brains that are not fully developed, therefore judgement may be lacking. In addition, teens often have inaccurate information about sex, drugs and alcohol. Basing decisions on inaccurate information and teen brains can lead to disaster.
Trust me on this one! The risks are way too important to deny here. Encourage your kids to have an adult support system in addition to you! My advice to kids is to develop a list of five adults from five places in their life as a support network. My advice to parents is to help guide your kids to adults you feel comfortable with and ideally include youth service resources on the list as well.
As always, your questions and comments are welcome and encouraged!
Also, Get a copy of my free resource Ten Resources to Support and Inspire Teens by submitting your name and email on the form above and to the right.
Transition on Purpose