photo: Tyler Jacobson
You hear it everywhere: “Talk to your kids!” “Teens who talk to their parents are less likely to get into trouble!” “How did they not know THIS was going on with their teen? Do they not talk?” Well, frankly, as a father I can tell you it’s easier said than done. We all want to talk more with our teens, to know what’s going on in their lives, to see where we can help them. In return, we want our teens to feel comfortable talking to us and bringing concerns and issues to us in a place of trust. So why does it feel like all we can come up with is the traditional “How was school?” and yes-or-no questions?
Asking question is a skill at which we can improve through practice, like any other. Learning how to ask great questions can actually help you in your parenting, especially with teens. Talking to our teens is hard in part because they can be a mystery to us. We don’t always know what they’re feeling or why, so we sometimes feel a need to tiptoe around them or avoid certain subjects. This further compounds the lack of communication! Instead we should be opening the gates of communication with questions that will lead to good discussion and connection. I know it can be awkward, but it’s well worth the effort. Today I am sharing with you a whole list (and more here) of potential questions with which you can spark conversation in your families and with your teens. Now, will all of these questions yield amazing results? Probably not (if conflict arises make sure to follow these rules). But if you keep trying and keep asking, you will start have meaningful discussions with your teen.
27 Great Conversation Starters
1. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go and why?
2. If I could do one thing to be a better parent to you, what would it be?
3. What do you worry about the most? Why?
4. What will you do when you graduate high school?
5. What do people like about you?
6. What is the best thing about our family?
7. How would you compare your friend’s families to ours? Good? Bad?
8. When was a time that you were kind to someone else?
9. Who is someone you admire right now? Why?
10. What is the “lesson” or “take-away” from your favorite book or movie? (Reading one of these classics as a family is another great option!)
11. What do you think about tattoos and piercings?
12. How common do you think cheating is at school?
13. What is the biggest factor in being successful at school?
14. Is it better to be optimistic or realistic? Why?
15. Have I ever not noticed when you were sad?
16. How do you react when your feelings are hurt? Does it help?
17. What do you think about the drinking age?
18. When should kids be allowed to try alcohol?
19. What makes someone popular?
20. What do you like best about your friends?
21. What don’t you like about them?
22. Who gets bullied or teased at school? Why?
23. How should someone handle it if they are bullied?
24. How is love/marriage different in real life than in the movies?
25. What do you think about the words “attractive” “beautiful” “handsome” or “pretty”? Do they mean different things?
26. Do you have friends with different religious beliefs?
27. What do you think about that? How will you know if you’ve had a successful life?
Talk to your teens! Talk to your family! The rewards are limitless.