My daughter Alyssa is a junior this year. The junior year brings numerous ‘rites of passage’ for a teenage girl. For Alyssa, it’s the year that she got her driver’s license, began working, took the SAT’s… and it’s also the year of Junior Prom.
A little over a month ago the two of us were outside working on our weed-eater (My daughter is awesome! She mows lawns for four different people.), and she asked me, “Dad, you don’t want me to go to junior prom, do you?”
The phrasing of Alyssa’s question in itself caught me off guard this time. I wondered… Why does she assume I won’t let her go? Is this a good thing—because she knows I don’t like what goes on at school dances? Or is this her feeling, “Dad is waaaaay too strict!” Either way, I liked the fact that she was talking to me about it.
This subject matter isn’t new to my blog and articles. Two years ago I shared with you a little bit about what goes on in the dark at school dances. Then last year I blogged about when Alyssa asked me, “Dad, Can I Go to the Homecoming Dance?” (You’ll have to read that if you want to know if I let her go.) Today I wrote a guest post about it on Doug’s blog at DougFields.com.
I’m sure I’m not the only dad who is going to hear that question this year, from both daughters and sons. So the question I have for you is simply, how are you going to have that conversation?
Last week I wrote a Youth Culture Window article asking that very question, and providing you with a tool that might help you get your teenagers talking about this subject. In this article I actually recommend that you rent the 2011 film, Footloose, and discuss it with your kids afterwards. (In that article I provide discussion questions you can use.)
Let me be transparent. Our kids aren’t always going to be open to these teaching moments. When I told my own girls that it would be fun to watch the film, my youngest, Ashley, was skeptical. “Dad, how many times are you going to pause and talk?” She knows that I love those “pause button moments.” She started doing a “Daddy” impression, making fun of my teaching moments (it was pretty funny—I might just have to catch one of those impressions on film for you guys).
Footloose isn’t the only tool to get your teenagers talking. Last week I wrote about using YouTube. The tool isn’t important… the conversations, however, are.
What tools do you use to get your teenagers talking?
What are some of the issues that you find it difficult to get your teenagers talking about?