We have classic kids. If they hop into the truck after school and I ask how school was I’ll get the classic answer. Good.
They know a follow-up question is coming after that. It’s usually something along the lines of, “Why not horrible or why not great?!”
They play along but usually by trying to come up with the most ridiculous answer to make each other laugh. Honesty isn’t the biggest factor here, humour is!
We also have classic kids in that they like their phones/iPods. A lot.
When these things are in their hands, the same way it is when they’re in our hands, they tend to tune out the world. They don’t help conversation but inhibit it. However, we’ve found a way that we can get our boys to talk!
Make sure they have something in their hands to do while you’re talking!
Sitting across a table and staring at your face isn’t going to get them talking. But give them a stick to whittle at the campfire and they’ll start to open up.
It seems like if their hands are busy and they aren’t bored, they’ll actually carry on a good conversation and answer all of my questions.
This past weekend we had a little family getaway and one evening we ended up sitting in the hotel lounge area. We were the only ones there. Well, us and the mini football that our boys carried around all weekend (thank you Target!) to chuck at each other. And while it goes against every fibre in my soul to let them chuck a football over a coffee table while we sit on nice couches and try to have good conversation – I let them. Because they were talking!!
It seemed that as long as they could be doing something, in this case, tossing a football back and forth, they were happy as clams to sit there and engage in conversation. So, we asked ALL of the questions.
In that hotel lounge, with a football flying about, we learned about which girls they thought were pretty, what their future goals were, if they’d ever kissed someone, and where they see themselves in ten years. We talked about relationships and intimacy and sex. We talked about the qualities they desire in a girlfriend and, given their list, if they think that girl would find them desirable. (ie. If you want a christian girlfriend, are you the sort of guy a christian girl would want? If you for sure don’t want a video gaming girlfriend, are you the sort of guy a non-gamer would find attractive?)
Of course there were times it got out of hand and I had to shoot the look that said reign it in! And of course someone got mad at someone for a bad throw that resulted in them having to get up and go retrieve the ball. And of course I had moments of worrying about what the people passing by would think of this family who allowed their kids to toss a football around the middle of the hotel. But the benefits far outweighed these things.
Finding out if my boys prefer a girl with glasses or no glasses or converse over nike’s was too good to worry about anything else!