Find a thing, and then try to share it with family
Everyone has his or her thing. It may be that you are really good at sports, or maybe you enjoy writing poetry. Some people like to watch TV shows or read a series of books. Others may enjoy bike riding, fishing or totally zoning out on the couch for hours, watching movies. But whatever your thing may be, consider sharing that with your mom, dad, son or daughter. That thing may just be what you need to become closer with your family.
Take sports, for example. If you like playing football, baseball, basketball, whatever, invite your parents or kids to play with you. A little friendly competition is never a bad thing to share with your family members; it can even be good for you. You can even place fake bets on whatever game you’re playing. You could say, “Loser has to do the dishes,” or “Last place gets to set the table!” Making your “play” time interesting with your family is a never-fail bonding experience. Even engaging in a board game could prove to be an entertaining and rewarding experience for the whole family. We have all seen the commercials that advertise the fact that spending time with your children is the most important thing in their lives, so why not heed that advice and have fun doing it, as well?
If you like to watch TV, pick a certain show or a certain day to be “family time.” Watching shows like “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Friends,” or whatever it is you enjoy watching will bring laughter and amusement to family members all around. Maybe your family could make a special dinner or snack to go along with your show to make it a bit more special, who knows? Just add your own flavor into the mix, and everything will be great!
Read each other’s books if they seem interesting to you. There is no better way to find out what your mom, dad, son or daughter likes than to read what they read. It’s always fun to see if they enjoy the different aspects of writing, or simply the story line. A good series to pick up and share is the Harry Potter series. Though you may be under the impression that these are simply children’s books, they are definitely not! You’d be surprised at the way these stories capture your attention and keep it for the entire book. Then you have to start the whole series because they are so addicting, but in a good way. Kind of like Oreos or potato chips. You can’t just read one. This way, after finishing a book that someone else in your family has read, you can talk about it. See if they enjoyed reading your favorite story. This is an instant conversation starter for those who may have trouble coming up with things to say to your teen or parent.
The point of all of these little suggestions is to get you and your family to be able to talk to one another – to share something in common, and know that that is your special little connection. Nothing is more powerful than a secret between two people, so use that technique to share a bond with one another that will allow you to always be able to talk about anything. It doesn’t matter if you guys like the same show or if you both enjoy doing activities; you will always be able to do those things together, or at least talk about doing them together.
You may be able to pick your friends, but you don’t get to pick your family, so deal with it! Just joking. Your family is your support system. Without it, you may be able to survive, but you probably wouldn’t be as strong as when your family is there for you. There is some kind of magical bond mixed into a family, and your job is to find that bond and make it grow. Make your connection with your support system as stable as you possibly can, because life is full of ups and downs, but family is forever. If you can remember that one thing, you will be so much more aware of the world and where you happen to be in it at any given moment.
Enjoy life. Enjoy your friends. But most of all, learn to enjoy your family!
Have questions about parents or teenagers? Morgan Nettles is a 17-year-old graduate of Nevada Union High School. She writes a monthly column about parent/teen relationships. Write her in care of Youth Page, The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945, or e-mail her at
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