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When you ask questions, it shows you care. Jesus constantly noticed people and asked them questions. Try following his example with your teenagers with a few well-placed questions, and perhaps you can start getting more than a one-word answer. In Get Your Teenager Talking, author Jonathan McKee, an expert on youth culture, shares 180 springboard questions to get teens talking to you about what they care about.
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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"How was school?"
"Same as always."
"Anything interesting happen today?"
"Nice talking with you!"
Let's face it. Teenagers have a PhD in one-word answers . . . if we don't ask the right questions.
In this book, veteran youth expert Jonathan McKee shares 180 creative discussion starters to help teens open up about issues that matter. You'll also find tips for interpreting their responses and follow-up questions. From light-hearted to more serious, these conversation springboards will encourage even the most reluctant teen to talk about friends, school, values, struggles, and much more.
"The perfect tool for connecting with today's teenagers."
--Dr. Kevin Leman, author of Have a New Teenager by Friday
"Few people understand the teenage world like Jonathan McKee. This book is one of the most helpful and practical tools I have ever seen to get teenagers talking with their parents about important topics."--Jim Burns, PhD, author of Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers and Confident Parenting
conradeVancouver, BCAge: 45-54Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Connecting With TeensMay 22, 2014conradeVancouver, BCAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4"How's your day today?"
If you get one word answers like, "Fine," "same-old," "whatever," or simply a shrug of "ok," you are probably dealing with a teenager. Indeed, getting this age group to talk is like opening clamshells. The default mode is shut. Only their peers can get them to open up. How then do parents and concerned adults connect with this group of people?
Even though parents and adults were once teenagers, it can be really difficult for intergenerational communications. Youth culture guru Jonathan McKee has put together five quick tips on how to get teenagers to open up, plus 180 examples called "conversation springboards." The five tips are:
1) Ask open ended questions
2) Avoid asking dull questions
3) Plan and think ahead
4) Use controversy
5) Observe first, speak later
These five tips are essential to avoid turning conversations into boring monologues into active dialogues. The rest of the book makes use of a combination of these five tips to help sustain a meaningful conversation with the teenager. Each "conversational springboard" begins with a spark of contemporary topic or interesting scenario. A few follow-up questions are quickly suggested to sustain the small flame of interest. Exceptionally brief and equipped with pithy statements, each springboard is easy to use and cleverly stirs anyone not just to respond but want to say something about it. Here are some notable springboards:
Career guidance: "If you could have any occupation in the world, what would you want to do, and why?" (#17)
Self-Esteem: "Name an Accomplishment you are most proud of." (#30)
Family: "Who do you admire the most in our immediate family?" (#45)
Companionship: "If you got lost in a foreign country for a few days, who would you want with you, and why?" (#53)
Maturity: "Where do you realistically see yourself in ten years?" (#82)
Knowledge/Reflection: "Of all the books you have read, what has been the most impactful?" (#85)
Introspection: "Fast-forward thirty years. What is the best compliment someone could give you about your children?" (#137)
These and many more are essential tools to help spark meaningful conversations with teenagers. That said, it really takes someone who knows teenagers to come up with such a long list of ideas. At the same time, every teenager is unique, and uniquely different from one another. What works for one may not work for another. The key is that anyone using the book need to be as discerning as well. For example, the questions on cartoons may seem a little childish. The one about books may not appeal to those who do not like to read. The one on remembering a deceased may come across as too painful. Thus, having the book alone does not mean one has all the answers. Discernment and care need to be used to ensure that we be sensitive to the feelings of teenagers.
Perhaps, for parents who are exasperated about their clammed-up teenager, as long as one springboard question can begin the conversation, the book would have worth every cent. Those working or are interested in all things youth will certainly benefit from this book.
Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Bethany House Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
GabrielleLondon, OntarioAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Amazing!May 10, 2014GabrielleLondon, OntarioAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I can sum up this book review in one word: FANTASTIC!
I was given a copy of "Get Your Teenager Talking" by Jonathan McKee free in exchange for an honest review so here it is.
Before opening it up, I was expecting another run of the mill parenting book. I was pleasantly surprised to instead find page after page of conversation starters with follow-up questions, relative bible verses and insights as to what you can glean from your teen's answers.
I have three kids ages, 15,13 and 11; 2 boys and a girl so as soon as I realized what the book was, I launched right in. It was a blast; they loved it and wanted me to ask another one, another one, another one. I've decided to keep it in the dining room so that we can do one or two after supper each night.
Two Thumbs Up!
Victory GirlNW WashingtonAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great ideasApril 27, 2014Victory GirlNW WashingtonAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"Get Your Teenager Talking" by Jonathan McKee is a great book to have... and use... no matter what your relationship with your teen.
When I first received this book from Bethany House Publishers, my daughter, whom we homeschool, saw this book and began to laugh! Her immediate thoughts were, "Like that's a huge problem... not!" But after I read a couple of the "springboard" questions to her, we were both hooked. Even though we have a great relationship and talk to each other a lot, there are ideas for conversations that my hubby and I may not have thought of without this book as a resource. Some of the topics are fun and just a way to get to know each other better, some gritty.
I would recommend this book to any parent.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.
J4Life55 Stars Out Of 5Great Conversation StartersApril 24, 2014J4Life5Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Anyone who has spent any time at all with teenagers knows they have a knack for one-word responses to any question. How are we supposed to communicate with the teenagers in our lives? Jonathan McKee offers 180 creative discussion starters to jump start conversations with the teens in our lives. Some questions are serious, some are light, but all are geared to promote communication with teenagers.
It is easy to know when we ask a yes or no question to a teenager. They always take advantage of the shortest way of answering and the conversation is over before it really begins. The great thing about this book is that all of the questions are impossible to answer with a single word answer. The next best thing about this book is that each question has suggested follow-up questions, insight into the question and quick additions. The questions are engaging and spark additional conversations, sometimes leading into unrelated topics.
Not only is this book great for one on one conversations, it is also a useful tool for use in a group setting, such as a classroom setting. I think it helps students to communicate with each other, facilitate interactions, and share opinions.
I enjoyed everything about this book. I tend to enjoy these kind of books, the kind with questions to spark conversations. If you enjoy them too, you will like this book. If you are a teacher, a parent, a group leader, or anyone who has regular contact with teenagers, you will find many uses for this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great Resource for Parents of TeensApril 18, 2014DiscipleMom LauraTXAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Parents looking for ways to engage their teens in meaningful conversation will find a great new resource in youth expert Jonathan McKee's latest book, Get Your Teenager Talking: Everything You Need to Spark Meaningful Conversations, published by Bethany House.
McKee's goal is to get parents to think proactively about conversations with their kids and questions they can ask to spark those meaningful discussions. "If we're willing to put a little more thought into our questions, we might get a little more from their responses," McKee says.
He goes on to say, "The biggest reason we can't get our kids to talk is because we're asking them the wrong questions and we're not noticing opportunities for conversation."
So, McKee sets out to arms parents with some meaningful and helpful tools, including in his book "5 Tips to Get Your Teenager Talking" and "180 Conversation Springboards." The tips are practical and the conversation topics include a wide range of things, including addictions, choices, dating, drinking, faith, honesty, movies, music, priorities, social media, temptations, and much, much more. A topical index provides a handy way for parents to find just the right topic for just the right time.
Each "Conversation Springboard" in Get Your Teenager Talking includes an initial comment or question that serves as a jumping off point. There are additional "Follow-up Questions," a section on "Insight into the Question" for parents, and some "Quick Additions," questions that encourage further conversation. Some conversation topics even include scripture references.
Here are some sample "springboard" questions.
Ã¢â¬Â¢ If you could eliminate one evil in the world, what would you destroy, and why? (Springboard 2)
Ã¢â¬Â¢ What animal would describe the mood that you're in right now? Explain. (Springboard 57)
Ã¢â¬Â¢ Where do you realistically see yourself in ten years? (Springboard 82)
Ã¢â¬Â¢ What is one habit you wish you could break? (Springboard 135)
Get Your Teenager Talking is a great resource for parents. Personally, I have a preteen and a younger elementary-aged child, but I certainly see this new resource as one that will spark many lively family conversations. Additionally, I think it will prove to be a helpful resource as my husband and I work with the youth at our church. Not only that, but I think many of the topics would work as icebreakers and even discussion starters at a small group Bible study. All in all, author Jonathan McKee delivers exactly what he claims in this book. It's an amazing resource, and one I hope we'll see a follow-up volume of in the future.
About the Author
Jonathan McKee is an expert on youth culture and the author of more than a dozen books, including The Guy's Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket and The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers. He has twenty years of youth-ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide. He also writes about parenting and youth culture while providing free resources at TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife, Lori, and their three kids live in California.
*Note: I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers for this review, but the opinions expressed in the review are my own.
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