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A Date With My Son

Breakfast Plate

1:1 time with each kid.  New Year’s resolution.  Somehow it happens more naturally with my daughter, 10.  We just find ourselves together.  My son and I used to find ourselves together.  Building Lego houses.  Making caterpillar homes.  Shooting hoops.  Now at 4 inches shorter than he, I’m barely lucky to block his shot, with no hope ever to scoot past him with a soccer or football.  My only hope is to win the tiebreaker in ping-pong.

He’s 13, and 1:1 time is just different now.

How about breakfast out?  A date with my son.  He just adores a good plate of Belgian waffles and bacon.  That’s it.  Our first official New Year’s Resolution Date.

Uh-oh.  What do we talk about?  I mean, we spend time doing things together.  We’re together as a family.  But this new 1:1 time . . . with my teenage son . . . at breakfast . . . is a little new.

With my quiet and independent guy (“thanks, Mom, but I’ve really got it all covered,”), most questions about school, friends, his sports just seem to be probing and get interpreted as me taking the parent role.  Ok.  We won’t go there.  This has to be fun in order to work, doesn’t it?

So  . . . conversation starters . . . but beyond the typical “5 Questions to Ask to Get Your Teenager to Talk” and the beloved family table topic cards.

I paused for a minute and pulled out of my brain that good ‘ole cocktail party tip – ask them questions about what they’re interested in.

For my son, that would be sports.  But not his sports.  That would be professional sports.  Scores.  Standings.  College too.  All of it.  Any of it.

But I don’t really keep up.  (I mean, I try to be interested . . . but it just doesn’t last . . . ).  Now I know why my mother-in-law and paternal grandmother seemed like such sports buffs.  They each had 2 boys.

Ok, then.  Take charge.  And prep for breakfast.  I’ll know about the NFL standings, who’s on probation in the MLB (what is it with those guys?), and I’ll ask him about his picks . . . and why.  That’s not too intrusive, is it?

So, if you’re looking for a way to connect . . . and get the conversation started with your kids . . . try moving beyond those typical (but loved) “family conversation starters” and do it the ‘ole fashioned cocktail party way.    And, if you do a little research ahead, you just might keep the party goin’.

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