Light Bonding & Hard Conversations: Lessons You Can Learn in the Kitchen

I love to cook! Always have and always will…when the kitchen is organized and I have all of the supplies I need…lol! All joking aside though, I began to love cooking when I was little because my grandma was an expert at it and she always gave me my own miniature supplies to replicate the same dishes she’d chosen to make at the time. She taught me so much in the kitchen, and she became my motivation to cook well. After tons of failed attempts at cooking pancakes, I can say I am one of the best pancake chefs you will ever meet! My skills pretty much start and end there, but I still enjoy cooking.

The kitchen was one of the many places my grandma used to teach me life lessons, and I think it was one of the easiest places for me to process the info because it gave me something to focus my attention on when I became uncomfortable with the subject matter. Play therapy is extremely effective for kids and teens because it makes the conversation seem less forced and allows development and problem solving to occur through other activities. I wish more parents would incorporate it into their time with their teens. Participating in an activity together invites safety into the space as teens develop trust in the adult because it seems less harsh and demanding of them.

I developed anorexia when I was fifteen, a time when I found myself eating fast food more and more and spending less time in the kitchen. I gorged on packs of oreos and then punished myself by withholding food from myself for the rest of the day. I gagged on lettuce and rarely ate healthy foods because I hated the taste of them and the way they were seasoned (or not). Cooking with your daughter (or son) can be a great way to introduce them to healthy eating, get their investment in trying new things by requesting them to put their special touch on the meal, and lead to conversation about healthy eating habits and the definition of beauty. You might be surprised by what you find out about your teen when you begin cooking together! It’s a bonding activity that can be as light (and cheap) as you want to make it or as deep as you’re willing to explore together. I dare you to try it yourself!

Want to enhance the experience?

  • Create a pinterest board of recipes together.
  • Choose one or two recipes to shop for and have a quietscavenger hunt through the store to see who can find the items fastest.
  • Add a new pandora station full of your favorites that you’ve created together to dance to as you talk and create meals and memories!

Are there other activities that you enjoyed doing with your mom or grandma? Care to share?

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