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Teen Selfie with Grandpa

That adorable child who couldn’t get enough of “nana” and “poppop” now sits sullenly across the table. They are, at least, honoring the “no cell phones at the dinner table” rule, but you sit in silence. You, wishing for a connection. They seemingly, wishing it were over. Questions like “How’s school?” or “What are your plans for summer?,” even “Do you like chocolate or peanut butter better?” no longer elicit the same lively, conversational response.

What’s a grandparent to do?

A few weeks ago I shared a post about having an arsenal of questions for grandchildren to ask their grandparents, to draw out stories, memories, advice and connection.

Now, on the flip side, I offer conversation starters for grandparents to ask their grandchildren.

Ask “social” questions:

What self-defense training should girls learn and at what age?

You’re invited to a party and some kids are drinking liquor–how do you say no thanks and still look cool? Or should you call home and tell your parents? Should you stop the party and tell all the kids what you think they are doing is dangerous to all of us? (But, be careful to listen and discuss—no lecture!)

A friend asks to borrow money –would you do it? What do you hold as equal value until you are paid back?

If you could vote in the next election, who would you vote for and why?

Ask questions specific to what they are learning in school (by looking at the school website):

What do you think Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird) would be like as an adult?

What do you think life would have been like if you were alive during the Inquisition (perhaps show a YouTube video of Mel Brooks song….The Inquisition.)

Ask about things related to current events:

What do think about the gun control debate going on right now?

What do you think about “Brexit”, UK’s leaving the EU?

Ask about things related to pop culture (here’s a chance to get clarity on things you may have heard about, but really don’t know):

What do you think has led to Taylor Swift’s (Justin Bieber’s, etc.) popularity?

Are kids still using Snapchat? How does it work?

What do you think about mobile marketing that uses the GPS in your phone?

Ask questions related to their areas of interest:

What’s your favorite recipe to make with pumpkin?

If you could plan your dream vacation this summer, where would you go?

Ask abstract questions:

What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

What advice would you give your 30 year old self?

What do you think are three pop culture things I need to know to at least SOUND hip to a teenager?

Be prepared where you can be (e.g. you may have more information knowledge to share) or and don’t be afraid to acknowledge what you don’t know (as in “I have no idea…that’s why I’m asking you!)

And, please come back and share what works for you I the comments!

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