To encourage students to examine the factors that result in harmony or chaos at home, and to determine the role they play in the quality of home life.
- Determine the “pulse” of your kids’ home lives. What are the major issues? Divorce? “Latchkey” situations? Communication?
- Prepare and review video selections. For this meeting, there are two possible directions, humorous and serious. On the light side, obtain short portions of several TV serials, mostly comedies, that center around families. More seriously, excerpt portions of movies that deal with child/parent confrontations, etc.
- Make sure that necessary equipment is ready for use.
- (Optional) Contact several parents of teenagers, preferably ones your kids do not know well, and have them come to the meeting for an interview.
- Sing a few songs that are appropriate for your group.
- Pass out cards to each member of the group, each card listing a characteristic of some member of a “typical” family, (i.e., father’s weight, mother’s height, etc.) Each person responds, on the card, with creative answers about that characteristic. They then return the cards to the leader. The leader reads them aloud. This should be fun and ties into the theme of the meeting.
Group Presentation and Discussion
- Show short clips from family serials, 15-20 seconds each. After each, ask: What is good about this family situation? What is unreal? For this meeting, use shows with family themes that are now playing on TV.
- Show excerpts from “Ordinary People.”
- Breakfast scene: What unspoken emotions are happening? Does this seem real?
- Picture taking session: Who is “at fault” here? Why? How “should” they have behaved?
- Last scene: Conrad tells his father he loves him. What was good about this interaction? How is it possible to tell your parents that you love them and not mean it?
Further Group Discussion
- What are the ideal parents like?
- What are some of the most common problems that occur between parents and kids today?
- What are things that kids could do to make their homes better places to live?
- How do parents influence your habits and behavior patterns positively?
- What are problems parents have that can be passed to kids?
- Parents are human, you are human; mistakes and misunderstandings will occur.
- Honesty, trust, and communication of feelings are helpful in family relationships.
- You are establishing a foundation for the kind of parents you will be.
- It is unlikely that other family members will change to suit you.
- Family relationships are permanent; you cannot trade with someone else for new parents.
- Flexibility, forgiveness, and the ability to say “I am sorry” are necessary elements for any long-lasting relationship.
(Optional) Parent Interview*
The kids should ask the questions, but to initiate the discussion you may want to ask:
- Do your kids have a curfew? Why?
- What was the cause of the last argument in your house? How do these usually start?
- What has made you feel good about having kids?
- Where do you think your kids are influenced most? How?
- What are some of the things you wish kids knew?
- What is a typical punishment in your house? How did you select it?
*You may want to record this for use in the Group Presentation and Discussion.
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