Watching Movies Can Be a Great Way to Bond with Your Teen

The older your children get, the more challenging it becomes to stay connected. As they carve out own self-identity, it seems like they stop liking things they used to like and may not even want to have much to do with you at all. Take it from someone who’s been through this a few times—and who’s about to do go through it again. Remember way back when spending time with the kids was as simple as taking them to the park to play on the swings? Now, spending time together usually means a quick trip to the video game store or the mall. Or just texting each other from opposite ends of the house. We’ve all been there, and we all secretly (or not so secretly) wish we could get a little closer to our teens. We want to know what’s going on with them, what they’re into, what’s on their minds…. But teasing that information out can be a real challenge.

But there is one thing that the kids and I have always had in common—and it’s something you probably have in common with your kids too: watching movies. Wait, so how can staring at a TV screen or sitting in a dark theater going to help you get any closer to your teenagers? Give me a second to make my case.

Movies Are Universal (Which Makes Them a Great Family Pastime)

If you have more than one child, you know that each one has a different personality. Trying to find things they have in common with each other gets harder the older they get. You may have one kid who’s really active and loves the outdoors, and another who’s more introverted and prefers coding or building with LEGO. Still, no matter how old you are, what your favorite activities are, what you love, or what you hate, there’s going to be a movie out there that will suit your interests.

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Tips for Dads: Discussing the Tough Topics

Daddy talking to his son about serious things

Daddy talking to his son about serious things

It is a complex world in which we live and, for young children, certain complexities are difficult to comprehend. Communication with your kids evolves as they get older, challenging us to figure out the best way to talk about important topics. But this is all new territory and you’re not sure how to explain “the bird and bees” to an eight year old in an appropriate way.

So, Dad, it’s time to learn the rules for talking to your kids about the tough stuff.

Make it Age-Appropriate

There is a joke where a little boy asks dad, “Where did I come from?” Dad pulls out books and diagrams, launching into the entire birds-and-bees lecture. When he is done, the horrified son looks up and says, “Billy said that he came from Miami.”

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Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happy Family

Anne Fishel, author of Home for Dinner.
Topic:
Mixing food, fun, and conversation for a happier family and healthier kids.
Issues: Overcoming time-constraints, scheduling issues, and post-work fatigue; bringing gratitude to the table and averting complaints and conflict; the importance of conversation; getting the whole family talking, laughing, and engaging with one another—and keeping it up over time.

The Art of Schmoozing

Alaina G. Levine, author of Networking for Nerds.
Topic:
Find, access, and land hidden game-changing career opportunities everywhere
Issues: How and why we should connect with others; overcoming shyness (our own—and helping our kids overcome theirs, too); how to start—and end—conversations with others (and how to give our kids the skills to do the same).

Helping Struggling Students + Say This, Not That


Barbara Dianis, author of Don’t Count Me Out!
Topic:
Better grades and test scores for kids with educational difficulties.
Issues: Building strong bonds between academically struggling students and parents as they learn to understand and alleviate educational issues.

 


Carl Alasko, author of Say This, Not That.
Topic:
How to always say the right thing at the right time.
Issues: The five rules of effective communication; what to say–and not say–in stressful situations; exploring the biology behind communication; how to avoid spilling emotional blood.

Ethics for Kids

[amazon asin=157912948X&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Michael Parker, author of Talk with Your Kids.
Topic:
Conversations about ethics and more.
Issues: Where do kids get their values? Why learning to think consciously about ethics is at least important to our children as academic learning; Conversation starters about honesty, friendships, sensitivity, fairness, dedication, and more; ground rules for conversations with your kids.