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Parent Articles

 

Car Talk

By Jane Stroschin

 

"Get in the car," I said, flashing a smile at my preteen son. "I have a surprise for you."

"What? He asked.

"If I tell you, it's not a surprise."

We got in the car and drove off to the country. Why the country? No particular reason. The first time I offered him a "surprise" we drove to the new fast food place, for curly fries. The second trip was to a scenic lookout point to see the autumn colors as sunset.

Where we drive to isn't the important part of the story. Why we get in the car and drive anywhere is.

What I've discovered is that if I take turns inviting each of my children (one at a time) on a "surprise" trip periodically, we talk. Really talk. About everything: school, friends, religion, jobs, sex, politics. Actually, my kids talk. I ask questions and listen, occasionally interjecting a positive comments like, "I'm proud for you," or "I'm glad you're my son."

Maybe talking in the car is easier because you don't look at each other. Maybe it's because there is nothing else to do for the stretch of driving time there (wherever "there" is) and back. Whatever the reason, it happens.

And I discovered my kids enjoy it at least as much as I do. After my first few "surprises," they began coming to me, asking, "You wanna go for a ride?"

I drop whatever I'm doing, grab my car keys, and we're off.

 

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