Last Sunday night my family had just finished eating dinner and I was starting to clean up the kitchen when my son Matthew said, “Mom, if you want to play that game after dinner, we can.” He was referring to a board game called Talk About It!
Well, you never saw me clean the kitchen so fast. I knew I only had a small window of opportunity for Matthew to give his attention to something other than his computer.
Talk About It! is family board game intended to encourage communication between teens and adults. It’s a card/dice game with a twist!
Because I have a teenage son who loves the computer more than anything in the world, I couldn’t wait to try this game, and possibly get him interested in something new.
When you open the board game’s rule book, there are several choices of specific games to play. We decided on Go Fish since it was easy and our first time. I had Matthew pick the deck we would play from. We had topics ranging from stress, to feelings, to icebreakers, to values. Matthew picked the “least of the most awkward” topics for him to talk about. He picked values.
We started the game and I was so nervous as to who would have to answer a question first. Well, it was my husband and believe it or not, I was just as curious to hear his answers as my son’s. When Matthew finally got to answer, I listened carefully and tried not to look obvious that I was hanging on his every word and thrilled to be playing this game with him.
Matthew, on the other hand, was not so thrilled, but he played anyway. What I found peculiar was that no matter who had to answer the question on the card, Matthew would answer for that person.
For example, if I had a card that said, “What do you value most, that you are not willing to give up?” Matthew would answer for me, or at least give me some choices. I answered “respect” and then went into why. I started to notice Matthew really wanted to share his answer for someone else’s question. I started to listen to his response more than my husband’s answers. But I also got an opportunity to learn Matthew thoughts on topics we usually don’t talk about. It was a way for him to tell us things he normally wouldn’t.
At one point, I said we can stop if you don’t want to play anymore. Matthew surprised me when he said, “No, let’s play until we are done.” For me, this board game was the key to learning more about Matthew’s thoughts and feelings in a way that I couldn’t accomplish without it being awkward or without him shutting me down. I also loved that my husband opened up in front of my son.
I truly believe teens are not going to openly tell you how they feel, or what they feel, or why they feel how they do — but playing board games often helps. For me, the game definitely helped my son Talk About It. You might want to consider a family game night. It can get quite interesting!