has heard over and over again his
entire life, stories that tell him, “remember whoyou are.”
we parents tended to be pretty good about storytelling with our kids when theywere little. we bought all those cardboard covered picture books and read themout loud until we wanted to do imaginary harm to the imaginary characters. wesat with our kids watching veggietales or other cute story videos. stories thatwere cute until about their seventh viewing (and not so much at their sevenhundredth viewing). we sat on the edge of their beds at night, making up wild andwonderful tales, full of humor and pathos and wonderful morality and lessons of courage. try that with your 17 year-
old son! (no, really, don’t.)
so when did we stop telling stories with our kids? and, more importantly, why didwe stop telling stories with our kids?
sure, our stories have to evolve a bit, if we’re going to continue them with
teenagers. storytelling with teenagers is less about snuggling and unicorns, andmore about the real stuff of life. remember, normal teenagers view their parentsas permanently middle-
aged. they don’t have much imagination about what you
were like as a child or teenager, unless you tell them.if lines of communication are already open and strong in your family, storytellingis a great way to keep t
hem that way. and you’ll be amazed at the other stuff that
will come up before, during, and after stories.
but if lines of communication are already strained, i’d like you to hear a fewthings. first, don’t panic. you’re normal. yes, this is difficult; but
it’s normal. in
fact, your goal as a parent of teenager is to wean them from the dependence onyou that was normal when they were children. relationships and independenceand communication all
shift during these years. to try to keepthem
from shifting actually does damage to your teenager’s development. but
consider using stories to create a safe DMZ of communication.
even though it will feel forced at times (that’s ok –
some level of uncomfortabilityis ok), structure some sharing times that are built around stories, not check lists of
“what did you do?” that feel more like a gestapo interview than loving parental