This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Communicating With Parents
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE

When a sampling of more than three thousand high school students were asked recently what aspect of their lives they’d like most to change, the most frequent answer given was “relationship with family.” In fact, these young people considered this to be more important than changing either their personal qualities or their academic status.

In this program, comedian/teen counselor Michael Pritchard visits high schools in Nashville and Boston to explore the critical issue of teen-parent communications. Through probing dialogue and hypothetical situations, they examine some of the ways in which family communication gets blocked, and consider what kinds of choices they can make to improve the situation.


  1. To stimulate young people to think critically about how they and their parents communicate with each other.
  2. To help them see themselves as having the power to improve those communications by making the right choices.
  3. To focus their thoughts on what they can do differently to cause a change for the better.
  4. To encourage them to take the initiative in improving theirc ommunications with their parents.

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Communicating With Parents
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE



1. How many of you think you have good communications with your parents? What makes it good? How many of you are unhappy with your communications with your parents? What gets in the

2. What was most meaningful to you in this program? In what way was it meaningful?

3. Whom did you most agree with in this program? Whom did you least agree with?

4. Are there things you feel you need from your parents that you’re not getting? Do you tell them that? If not, what would happen if you did? Do you ask your parents what they need from you?

5. Can you think of anything you do that might make it difficult for your parents to communicate with you?

6. What could you do that would make it easier for your parents to communicate with you?

7. It’s often said that people do what they’re rewarded for doing. Do you ever praise your parents when you think they’re doing a good job of being parents? If so, how do they respond? If not, how are they supposed to know?

8. Give an example of something you do that you don’t tell your parents about. Why do you choose not to talk to them about this? What do you suppose would happen if you let them know?

9. What would you like to know about your parents that you don’t know now?

10. If you had to break bad news to your parents about something you’ve done, what would be the worst way to go about it? The best way?

11. Do your parents say “because I said so” rather than explain or discuss their reasons? In what situations do they do this? Why do you suppose they do this?

12. Do you find it difficult to express your emotions to your parents? If so, why?

13. What differences exist between your parents’ values and your own? Do these differences have anything to do with some of the conflicts that occur between you? Do you try to consider their values when you talk to them about difficult issues?

14. Do you ‘check in’ with your parents so they know what’s going on in your life? When are the best times to talk with them?


1. What is the one thing you’d like most to talk with your parents about? Why is this important to you? What has been stopping you from talking with them about it? What are you afraid would happen if you did? How bad would that be? Is it worth the risk? Is there anything you could do differently that would make it easier or less risky? What do you conclude from all this?

2. List all the communication barriers you can think of that exist between you and your parents. For each one, think of something you could do differently that might eliminate it or at least make it less troublesome. Write these down. Then, pick the one you think you have the best shot at succeeding with, and try it. Write about the outcome.

3. Write a list of questions that you would like to ask your parents, including questions about their lives and about their relationship with you. After completing the list, mark the ones you might ask them. Explain why you would not ask the other questions, and describe what might happen if you did.

4. Write about what you think your parents’ biggest fears are, and how that might affect their communication with you.

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video Communicating With Parents
in the 12-part DVD series THE POWER OF CHOICE



1. Brainstorm the worst possible ways to break bad news to your parents (e.g., you totaled the car, you got suspended from school). What would be the worst time and place? What words or expressions could you use that would really set them off? How could you make it into a total disaster?

2. Brainstorm the best possible ways to break bad news to your parents. What would be the best time and place? What words or expressions could you use that would get you the most cooperation and sympathy? What could you do to achieve the best possible outcome?

3. Name a conflict you have with your parents – say it’s over something they won’t allow you to do. Try a role play where you take the part of your parent, and somebody else plays you. In the role of parent you do your best to argue against giving permission. Then switch roles and play yourself. See how persuasively you can respond to your own previous arguments. Can you find a way to get what you want and still give your
parents what they need?

4. What would happen if people had to pass a licensing examination in order to become parents? As a class project devise an examination and licensing procedure for parenting.

“Communicating With Parents” – The Video

In this program, comedian/youth counselor Michael Pritchard, talks with students in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis, to discover how our values can guide us in making choices that are right for us. Learn more . . .

Buy This Video
The Series

The Power of Choice with Michael Pritchard is a 12-volume youth guidance video series aimed at empowering teenagers to make good choices in their lives. It teaches young people that they have the power of choice, that they are responsible for the choices they make, and that they owe it to themselves to choose the best.
Learn more . . .


Buy This Series

For more information about individual videos in this series, click on the title below.

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.


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