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Book Review: Get Your Teenager Talking by Jonathan Mckee

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Have you ever had a conversation with a teen that went nowhere? Yep, me too. My go to question for a struggling conversation is  “Do you like monkeys?”.  That elicits some laughter, which breaks the awkward tension, but it does not take us to much deeper on the topics of monkeys, and that’s a good thing. This when I refer to Jonathan McKee’s new book  Get Your Teenagers Talking for some new conversations starters that don’t kill the conversation.

Jonathan shares 180 conversation starters that parents, youth workers, teachers, and anyone who wants to talk to teenagers can use. Unlike some question books that offer only  a single, one pop question that may or may not go anywhere,  Get Your Teenagers Talking takes a little of the heavy lifting off your shoulders and lays out stones, like a path, that can take us to the next level with a small group or one kid.

Each discussion starter is called a Springboard and is broken down like this

The Question

Jonathan shares, in the beginning of his book,  the five  ways he likes to start a dialogue going in his house

Don’t ask yes or no questions

Don’t ask dull questions

Think ahead (Craft questions ahead of time)

Use Controversy

Use your eyes and ears before your mouth (notice what a kid is into)

Jonathan takes his principles and peppers them throughout the 180 conversation starters

Follow Up Questions

Do you get as far as the first question with a teenager and then have a  “I got nothing” moment?  Jonathan’s helps you add some fuel the fire with three or four questions to keep the convo going.

Insight To The Question

Jonathan gives you the answer to why you might want to ask this question.

Quick Additions

Deeper questions to make kids think about their initial answers.

This book is a utility book that can be used in a small group bible study or around the family dinner table. If talking to teenagers feels like a talking to a locked door, Getting Your Teenager Taking is the key.

If you are not familiar with Jonathan McKee, he his is a speaker and author and shares his knowledge and insight about youth culture in his blog over at   and it’s also where you can pick up your copy of Get Your Teenagers Talking.

You can watch my interview with Jonathan about his book The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide For Teenagers by clicking HERE

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