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Talking as a family creates connection and an opportunity to talk about topics that really matter in the lives of your teens.

With the rise of social media and smartphones, fewer and fewer families are taking out time to have conversations. In this topic, find out how and why it’s important to talk as a family.

Talking Will Help Your Kids

Especially in junior high and high school, tweens and teens are experiencing a myriad of new, sometimes confusing, emotions. Parents, this is definitely not the time to check out! Talking with your kids will help them parse out some of the tough emotions that come with adolescence.

[Related: The Importance of an Unhappy Adolescence]

A Culture of Conversation

If business as usual for your family involves everyone in their own rooms doing their own thing, it might be tough to get started with family conversations because you don’t have a culture of conversation in your home. Don’t give up. It’ll take time and concerted effort, but you can change the culture of your family if you truly desire it and take the right action steps to make it happen. Using one of the start pages at FLEXTALK.org is a simple way to begin.

[Related: How Conversations Bring Clarity]

The Discovery Principle

Our goal for our kids should be to help them discover who they are, what they want out of life, and what they’re willing to put into life. This is the opposite of lecturing your kids or deciding from before they’re born what job they’ll have, who they’ll marry, or the kind of person they’ll be. If you want your kids to take ownership in their lives, they need to discover things for themselves rather than simply checking off all the boxes you’ve drawn up for them. Conversation can help make that happen.

The Ownership Principle

Ownership is about self-responsibility. People live out values when they have a sense of ownership for those values. Parents: equipping your kids to “take ownership” as a lifestyle is crucial for their growth and development, especially after they leave your care for college, work, travel, or whatever is next in their lives. You’re the ones who provide the strong foundation for them to stand on during tumultuous times.

When it comes to conversation topics, this means ensuring everyone has a chance to engage with each discussion question in a topic. It shouldn’t just be the person who called for the conversation doing all the talking, otherwise, you’re having a lecture, not a conversation.

[Related: How to Take Ownership]

Whether for ten minutes or sixty minutes, commit as a family to having conversations. Use one of our ten-week (or shorter) series to help make it happen. This is the first step to developing a conversation culture for your family.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Are you excited about having family conversations, or is it intimidating/frightening for you? Explain.
  3. In what ways does your family communicate well? How could you learn to communicate better? Explain.
  4. Parents, how can family conversations help you?
  5. Explain the “discovery principle” in your own words. Do you agree that this principle is important? Why or why not?
  6. Explain “ownership” in your own words. Do you agree that this principle is important? Why or why not?
  7. What are some topics or series you’d like to talk about as a family?
  8. What are your long-term hopes/desires for having family conversations? What steps do you need to take to make those hopes/desires into realities?
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
This topic is part 1 of our Family 201 series. Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.