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100 Questions to Ask Your Parents

How to Play
Decide how long you are going to play. One turn apiece? That means everyone gets asked one question and then you stop- That seems too short, doesn't it? Well, maybe, three turns a piece? Half an hour? It's a personal decision, but you probably should get to ask and answer at least a few questions.

Once you decide how long you will play, decide the order in which you will go. Flip a coin to see who goes first, second, third, etc. Alternate between adults and children if possible. For example, a parent starts and picks a question for the kid who comes next and that kid asks a question of the next adult.

The person asking the question can pick any question out of his section of the book (parents ask parent questions, kids ash hid questions), but they have to pick it quickly – no pouring through the book for what could seem like hours! The person who answers can answer briefly – or take up to five minutes. Then the question is open for discussion to everyone – if anyone has more to say on the subject! People can take as long as they like unless you make a rule that no question gets more than a certain amount of time for group discussion.

This isn't hard – you are just taking turns and not letting anyone hog airtime. And all the rules are simple:

  • You take your questions from the list that follows this introduction (even if you are a teenager and the word "hid" is a major insult – sorry!)
  • No one interrupts anyone else.
  • You (and anyone else) can only refuse to answer two questions during any game.
  • Show no disrespect (grimacing, eye rolling, cutting remarks, etc). This one is a very hard rule for brothers and sisters to follow, but try.
  • The person who asks the question gets to ask a follow-up question if it directly relates to the answer.
  • Use sensitivity when choosing questions: if you know that a specific question is going to be upsetting because of some recent event or loss, skip it.
Remember, the point of this game is fun.

Start modestly the first time. Don't let the game go on so long that it gets tiresome. A half hour is a good amount of time to try first, see if that is too long or too short. Decide on a good place for your family to begin: in the living room, on a trip, or at the dinner table. Try alternating questions that are funny and ones that might be a little tough to answer because they are very personal. Be honest and remember (this is always hard to do) that parents are people, too, an< they don't want to be hit with a string of "hot questions" any more than you do.

What If...
...my parents criticize something I say. Tell them that they can't do that in this game. Criticism stifles conversation. If your three favorite foods are chocolate, popcorn, and Fritos, so be it! In this game, they have to respect that. Mow it is fair to ash if you are sure you want to choose those three to be the only things you would exist on forever. You might want to revise your choices ... but they are your choices and you have to remind each other that everyone has the right of his option in this game.

...I can't think of anything to say! This happens a lot less than you might imagine. But if it does happen, just ask for another question. It's no big deal, and you do want to talk about something that interests you. The question you shipped can be asked again some other time, and by then you may have thought about some way you'd like to answer it.

... / don't want to answer that question. Remember: Everyone gets to skip two questions. You don't have to give a reason why. Just say "Next question, please!" Mo one is supposed to pressure anyone. Remember this theme: This is supposed to be fun, and we all have to make sure that we keep it fun!

...I'd like to answer somebody else's question. You can get a chance to do that in the group discussion that follows that person's answer. The person who initially gets asked the question gets all the time he or she wants to think about it and talk about it. But after that everyone gets to join in. That's part of the fun. See what they say and then put your own contribute into the mix!

Next: Page 3 >>

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.

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