Things you’ll need:
- Purchase ingredients for your teen’s favorite recipe.
- Confirm a date for you and your teen to cook together.
- Write the recipe(s) on an index card.
- Write a note to your teen in advance. Affirm a few of your teen’s strengths and positive character qualities and include a favorite treasured memory as their parent.
As teens mature the quantity of family time often diminishes due to increased activities and a desire for growing independence. Parents have to be creative to capture quality family time. Mealtime can be a satisfying solution if we avoid corrective and tense topics. Allow meal conversations to be positive, light, and encouraging.
Invite your teen to select their favorite meal and dessert and to join you in the preparation. As you cook select a few of the following conversation starters to help promote discussion.
- Why is this meal your favorite?
- Does this meal have special meaning for you or your family? Does the recipe have a history?
- What memories have you made over this meal?
Each family member should begin with their own index card with their name written at the top. Consider one strength or skill of your own that you recognize in yourself and write it on the card, under your name. Then, pass your card to your right. Similarly, write at least one positive trait for the person named on the card. Once complete, pass the card to the right. Continue until your card has made it back to you.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
As time allows open additional dialogue using a few of these “favorite” conversation starters:
- What are some of your current favorite activities now? What do you enjoy about them?
- What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
- What is your favorite recent movie? Would you suggest I see it?
- Who is your favorite band? Song?
- What is your favorite thing about our family?
- Who is your favorite mentor or role model?
- What is your favorite memory of early childhood?
Invite your teen to ask about your favorites. The goal of this activity is to enjoy positive dialogue and quality time. Conversation topics today may open the door to future conversations as well. Emphasize to your child how he/she is one of God’s “good and perfect gifts” to you and your family.
Ask your teen how you, as their parent, could support him/her academically? Spiritually? Emotionally?
Parenting a younger child requires a focus on rules. Parenting a teen or young adult should focus more on relationship over rules. What activities could you share as a parent and child that would strengthen your relationship?