For the last few months, Graham Irvine from Riverview Church has been exploring the different challenges and strategies of parenting teenagers with Mike on The Mornings Show. Today Mike and Graham have been discussing how to use current events to have ‘door opener’ conversations.
I was driving in and thinking about the long week in politics we’ve just had, and I think that would make a great little conversation starter.
Particularly for those families that have 16 – 17-year-olds. Our teens are the next generation of voters. I would have to admit when I was 18 and faced my first voting responsibility I had no idea. My parents had never discussed that with me. One of the big changes in Western culture that has happened over the last 100 years or so has been that once upon a time if you had a dinner party, two things that were bound to be part of the discussion were politics and religion. Now we sit in a space where people won’t talk politics and religion. I think one of the reasons for it is because they’ve lost the ability to actually have a conversation about things that they differ on without breaking down to insults.
I think it’s another great opportunity maybe for parents of older teens to go ‘Let’s sit down and talk about what’s going on. You know what do you think about it?’ And that’s what I’d call a door opener conversation.
Now, of course, underlying all of that is a really big challenge for us as parents, we have to know our values and know our reasons. The other thing is that I think we have to be secure enough in our position that if our teenager says well you know what ‘actually I’ve been doing quite a lot of research and I’ve decided that I’ll be voting for the Communist Party in the year.’ to have a conversation about it, not automatically slip into the ‘boss’ role and tell them what they can and can’t believe in.
It’s about the conversation and it’s about the relationship.
Have a listen to Graham Irvine unpack this conversation below.