Hanging out with the folks can be fun. Really. Trust us.
Step 1: Do something active Do something active. Take a hike together, go cycling, rent some Jet Skis. Exercise increases the brain’s production of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, putting everyone in a good mood.
Step 2: Try something new Try something new and preferably daring. Research shows that sharing a new experience—especially one that’s a little scary—helps people bond.
Step 3: Play a team game Play a game where the family can divide into teams—like you and your dad against your mom and brother in a game of bowling, tennis, or golf. Rooting for the same side is a great equalizer.
TIP: Ask your parents about their past. It’s a safe subject that they’ll warm to; plus, it will remind you that your parents were once young, too.
Step 4: Laugh with each other Laugh with each other. Rent a few comedies, take in some stand-up acts, or just exchange funny family stories around the dinner table. Psychologists who have researched laughter say that it builds strong connections.
Step 5: Play cards Play cards together. According to one study, you can learn more about a person in one game of cards than you could on 12 dates. Imagine what insights you could gain into people you’ve known your whole life!
FACT: According to one poll, 67% of American teens say they want to spend more time with their parents.