100 Questions to Ask Your Parents
Wouldn't it be fun to find out more about what your father or mother was like when he or 5he was a hid? Or get to tell your parents which of their friends you think looks dorkiest? Wouldn't conversation be more interesting if you and your family traded unexpected questions and answers at dinner rather than just talked about what homework did or didn't get done?
There are a lot of great things to talk about that no one ever brings up because we usually think of conversation as being serious rather than a way of being playful. Of course, conversation should be about serious things some of the time some of the questions in this book are about very serious topics. But other times, questions should be asked just to create new ways to think about things, look back on our lives, or imagine what life would be like if we could design it any way we wanted. In fact, I wrote this book because I think talking can be terrific fun, and even talking to your parents and brothers or sisters can be a kind of great game. Everyone can get to know each other and laugh a lot and be amazed from time to time. No one wins or loses, but there is an element of surprise in finding out personal information about parents and sharing some of your ideas, daydreams, and opinions with them.
My idea is to think of some of the world's most interesting questions that parents and kids could talk about and give everyone the chance to pick the ones they'd tike to hear about. Each person picks a question to ask and then answers a question when his c her turn comes around. All you have to do is choose from the list under 201 Questions to Ask Your Parents and ask any question you want. Your parents can take as long or as short a time as they want to answer. And you can all discuss the topic if you like. But then they go into their section of the book and ask you questions. Some of them might not be so interesting, but others like asking you who is the meanest kid you know might be cool to think about and share with them. They'll learn a lot about what you think are ways kids act nasty!
You can wiggle out of any two questions that don't interest you or are embarrassing but no more than that. It's good if a question makes you squirm a little; that means you either haven't thought about it before, or you have but you haven't wanted to deal with it. But why not try out an answer? Pick a set length of time to play for and my guess is you'll want to extend it. These questions get addictive! You can play them at the dinner table, or after dinner, or on a car trip, or anytime you feel like hearing what your parents will say about something.
So, this is a book about how to have interesting and often funny conversations with your family. It's a way to avoid dead, boring silences and fill the time instead with questions and answers that everyone will enjoy thinking about. I know that in my family, it is too easy for us to get stuck talking about practical things like who has to be taken where the next day. That isn't particularly fun. It doesn't let me in on what my kids are thinking, and it doesn't help my two teenagers learn things that might help them understand me a little better.
The trick of good family conversation is that questions have to be really worth asking and answering. So I have taken a lot of care about which questions to include in this book. In fact, I went to the experts. I sat down with my kids and asked them to help me think of questions that wouldn't be boring, too embarrassing dumb, or demanding. I liked most of the questions they came up with. But I needed even more questions. So I went out and asked a lot of other people-both parents and kids what subjects and what stone about each other they would really like to know about.
The questions in this book are the result of that search. I think that if you ask your parents some of these questions, you will get to see them in ways you've never seen them before. I also think there are questions here that they can ask you that will give you a chance to shine; to be funny, truthful, and smart. Most of these questions will also make you think about what is important to you or your parents. You can find out about the experiences and feelings your parents' lives and in your own life that made everyone who they are today. (For example, you might not have really thought about what movie star you would most like to look like [and why] or what kind of house you would pick if it was up to you but you will find out something about what you really like when you have to state a preference.)
When your parents pick a question and ask you to answer it, you might worry that it will be too tough a request. But it won't be. This book will not put you in too ticklish a spot. Absolutely not. The point of this book is to discover each other in a good way . . . and have fun doing it. Did you know that sometimes kids grow up and never find out who was the first person their mother dated or what their father's all-time favorite songs were? I can't let that happen to you. This book is based on the premise that the more you know about your family members, the closer you all are; some things you say will be funny and others will just be revealing and thoughtful. I guarantee you. though, once you start picking questions and taking turns giving answers, you will want to keep playing because there will be so many interesting things to think about or give your opinion about that you won't want to stop.
From the book 201 Questions to Ask Your Kids by Pepper Schwartz, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2000 by Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Buy the book at www.harpercollins.com.