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This is how a fond memory now promotes connection and joy with my teen boys

Board games have been present throughout my adolescent years. Although, I didn't realize how significant of a communication tool it was until I had to encourage connection in my teen boys.

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Board Games
Board Games help with Communication and Connection

It was Game Night last night and we played this game Power Grid for the second time in a row. It’s a fantastic game that we all enjoy.

It’s not only the game that makes it fun, it’s the silliness, the joking, the laughing, and connecting that goes along with it. This makes it a more enjoyable time spent with my teen boys.

A wonderful memory from my childhood is being around the dining room table with my siblings playing Rummoli, and doing exactly what we did last night. With my five siblings, the excitement was heightened with laughter, sharing, learning, and a watchful eye on the others to make sure they didn’t cheat. We would challenge each other on the simple rules of the game, and demand retribution for those who tried to get away with breaking them.

It was a very competitive game. Monopoly is another story…

We created memories where everyone was included in the fun. And at the end of the game we walked away either victorious, or knowing that there’s an opportunity to win the next time.

I can picture that memory perfectly!

It was a place where we could just be ourselves. And even though mom was near by she didn’t interfere. Instead she allowed us to be competitive and express our joy or frustration in our own way.

I’ve brought that experience into my own family, so we can challenge each other, know what it’s like to win, and how to lose gracefully. We’ve been participating in game night just about every week since January, and now it’s become something that my boys ask for. Our library of games to choose from has grown and includes more collaborative games as well, just to keep the interest going.

It wasn’t that way at the beginning though…

The first few times that I announced a Monday Game Night they hesitated, and wanted to do something else, like play video games. And then other times they gave the best excuse—homework. How could I argue with that?

The thought of getting together for an hour with their siblings of different ages was unappealing and they weren’t very interested. It was up to me to provide that consistency, the space and the encouragement to participate.

I remember clearly the fun times of playing those games as a kid, and just like I had to, I’m sure my mom had to encourage us to get together at the table. Grumbling and complaining, and not wanting to sit next to our sibling, let alone agree to work together to set up the game.

Of course, the loser got the final blow of having to clean the game up. But then, we all helped out anyway.

Provide a Space to be Ourselves

For us, the dining room table is not just a place to eat and play board games, but has also become a place where we can be ourselves and feel included. We work out our differences, we agree to disagree, we concede when we are wrong, and are compassionate when we’re right.

There has to be a space like this in each of our lives to feel safe and to be our authentic selves. To be able to express ourselves and be angry or sad, and then move on from that and be content again.

Board games are a tool—a very effective tool—to bring people together. They teach us life lessons and how to strengthen our communication skills. But for a child, it can just be a lot of fun.

#weeklyprompt #boardgames #communication #connection #teens #cooperating

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