For parents struggling to communicate with their teenage children I recommend… drum roll please… American Idol (http://www.americanidol.com.) Like many parents I am often at a loss about how to have a meaningful conversation with my 15 year old son, Kyle. He loves sports and is a promising athlete himself so he and his father never run out of things to discuss. Patching up an argument is easy for them too. They just pretend nothing happened and move on to the latest stats or amazing play and they’re back in the game. I on the other hand often get a “mom, don’t talk” or a conversation that consists of me talking and him grunting and rolling his eyes. That is until American Idol comes on. Each Tuesday and Wednesday are date nights for me and Kyle. We sit and we watch and actually have an hour long conversation.
We talk about the singing and the contestants. We dissect the performances. He was apoplectic when Anoop Desai went home. I think Adam Lambert is hot. Kyle thinks he’s emo (whatever that means?.) I like to point out the amazing accomplishments of young Allison (cleverly disguised teaching moment) and we both like Danny Gokey and Kris Allen. Then there is Ryan Seacrest and the judges. Kyle can’t stand Kara DioGuardia. I think she’s terrific. He loves Paula Abdul. I think she dresses weird. We imitate Randy Jackson. Yo Dawg. Check it out. And of course it’s always fun to cheer and boo Simon Cowell. At the end of the show neither of us votes or get involved in trying to save anyone. He goes back to ESPN and I go read a magazine but for one blissful hour two nights a week I am cool to my teenage son and he is my American Idol.
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