A PracticalDad Guide to Teenager Games

If you pay attention to what the teens – and tweens – are saying, you can learn some interesting games that they play amongst themselves.  They’re a fascinating and sometimes disturbing example of the teen mind, adrift somewhere between childhood and adulthood.  And before you react, just take the time to ask and engage them before rendering a value judgment.  These three particular games range from goofy to existential to simply base, a distressing concept when you realize that your kids are playing along with everybody else.

Goofy – "Yellow Car"

This goofy game requires observation and is great for passing time while traveling.  The first person to call out "yellow car" when they see one receives one point.  Likewise, calling out for a boat lands a point.  But calling out for a cemetary is the big win:  the caller gets ten points and everyone else loses ten points.  If you listen, the arguments pertain to such questions as whether a jet-ski constitutes a boat or is a taxi disqualified from the competition? 

I’ve caught myself calling out "yellow car!" while alone.

Existential – "The Game"

 This game is the oddest one yet.  There is but one rule and that is that you can’t think of the game.  When you think of it, you lose.  It’s puzzling to walk around near teens and see one of them suddenly smack himself in the forehead with the palm of his hand and mutter dammit, I lost!  Eldest has exclaimed that she’s lost the game on multiple occasions and each is noted by a comment exclaiming her loss.

Base and Depressing – "Marry, Dump or Bang"

A group game, this is one in which a participant has the floor and has to answer others’ questions about whether he or she would marry, bang or dump a particular person called out by the group.  This can include people within the playing group or not present. 

As a father, it’s distressing to find that your own kids have been present at playtime amongst their peers.  Forbidding their participation is as useful as baying at the moon so I have to content myself with using it as a departure point for further conversation; and that it’s important to add a moral element to the game.  Did it bother you that this kid viewed you in such a manner?  How would you feel if someone made it clear that she wanted only to dump you?  Forbidding participation won’t work since I’ve found that this game has occurred amongst teens – and tweens – by themselves even during church-sponsored events. 

Keep you ears open for what’s going on around you.  And if you hear something odd, just ask what it is they’re saying and prepare for an experience.

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