Dr. Rich Patterson

Connect With Kids – Part 5

For the past few postings we have been discussing the importance of making connections with kids, for their benefit, however, there is also a benefit to older adults as well.  Healthier relations will always be to stay with the younger crowd.  Young people have vitality, curiosity, and energy to give life a spark.  Their craziness and their outlook help us as older adults to remember that we need to hold on to the vitality of life.  That we need to be present in the present, be curious about the future, and leave the past behind for the most part.  It does neither us nor them much good.  But, knowing this and starting a conversation are two different things.

I have been posting some questions that can serve as conversation starters with kids and here are ten more that may help.  Choose the ones that work for you and either use them or modify them to work for you.  Then go where young people are and feel their wonderful enjoyment of life, laugh with them and ask questions about things to which you already know the answer.  Here are ten more questions.

  1. Tell me about the last compliment that you received.  Whom was it from?
  2. Who was your favorite teacher in elementary school?  Regardless of age this always gets a good answer.
  3. Who is currently your favorite teacher?  Why do you like them?
  4. What do you think adults should do right now to help end violence in schools?
  5. What family traditions do you have?  How do you celebrate them?
  6. What do you do together as a family that is fun?  or Was fun?
  7. What advice would you give to me as an adult when having casual conversations with young people?
  8. What topics are good to talk about with young people?
  9. Who is your best friend?  Why are they your best friend?
  10. When you think of the future, what do you think about?

These ten questions can serve as a springboard for asking follow-up questions.

  1. How long have you felt this way?
  2. Have you ever thought about that before?
  3. Tell me more . . . about…
  4. That is interesting, I’ve never thought about that before?
  5. What made you think of that?

These will keep a conversation topic going and help to pull the young person into your time together.  When kids spend time with adults outside of the home they learn people skills, it builds their self-esteem in ways that you would not think.  It helps them to see that older people can like young people, that we’re not all disgusted with them.  I like to spend part of every day being around young people and talking just anything with them.  I usually enjoy myself so much and when I walk away I feel better and have a chance to remember when I felt in a similar way and how I’ve progressed.

I want to challenge you to talk with some young people and ask them a few of these questions.  Tell me how it goes and post it below.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich