Tonight on Dateline NBC Kate Snow did some hidden camera exclusives with kids and teenagers covering topics like bullying, stranger danger, texting and driving, and drinking and driving.  THIS is what I’ve been wanting to do with my kids for SO LONG!  We aren’t to the stage of making decisions on drinking and driving yet, but we do have conversations on opening the door at home, and even bullying.

The set ups Dateline provided were perfect.  They put middle schoolers in a room playing Wii, one pegged as the bully, and one as the victim.  Then, the cameras told the tale of how real kids responded to real uncomfortable situations.  Another scenario included adults going up to homes with puppies, balloons, and crisis, begging to be let in to deliver the goodies or make an important phone call.  Some kids did well–resisting the need to accept the sensational gifts or to help someone in need.  Most did not.  The last set of circumstances involved teenagers on a “set” for a reality TV show audition.  One teen was pegged as tipsy for his birthday, and then was handed the keys to a car they would all ride in to the next part in the audition process.  All teenagers–regardless of background or obvious gut feelings–stepped into that car, with the drunk driver.

I’ve often thought of hiring some strangers to bribe my children with candy, puppies, or crisis–wondering how they would handle the situation.  After watching this episode, I’m convinced I need to run a set of scenarios of my own.  Most children did not pass with flying colors, but the set up provided amazing conversational moments.

And, from what I can tell, parenting is a lot of conversational moments.