On Monday we celebrated Christmas with my sister’s family, my dad and stepmom. When we go to my dad’s house it always starts the same way. My children and their cousins disappear to the expansive basement to play hide and seek in the dark, while the adults sit in the living room and talk.
The most my dad and stepmom get to hear about the kids is what we adults share. But they don’t get much of an opportunity to really get to know their grandkids. They aren’t the most talkative and most answers to their questions are pretty simple, “Yes, “No,” or “I don’t know.”
But this Christmas my stepmom had a new strategy. Just as the kids were getting ready to make their way to the basement she pulled out a bunch of cards and said we were going to play a game. I’m not sure what it was called but they were cards with questions such as, “If you could be one person for one month who would you want to be and why?”
She also had another set of cards that were along the lines of “What would you do” and you were presented with scenarios such as, “What would you do if you saw a parent verbally abusing a child?”
It started off kind of slow because the kids weren’t really digging deep inside for an answer. There were a lot of shrugged shoulders and “I don’t knows” going around. Finally my dad had had enough and said that if they didn’t participate, they didn’t get to eat dinner.
That was just the motivation they needed and as the night went on, with question after question being read, my dad and stepmom were able to learn quite a few things about my children. Actually, I was able to learn a few things too. Some of which I had promised to not punish if they gave a truthful answer and well, let’s just say I had to make myself stick to that.
At any rate, it was also an incredible opportunity to hear the perspective of different generations. Some of the things my teens consider to be important aren’t quite the same as what my father did, since he went through the times of the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam.
By the time the evening was over with we learned quite a bit about each other. I think that really helped glue us closer together and is something I would like to continue doing in my own home.
Think of some ways you can get to know each other better and understand what your teen is thinking. These types of “get to know you” games are just one way.