Once your kids hit those double digits, their pesky hormones kick in and sometimes they start wanting nothing to do with you, or any adults in the family, for that matter. Of course, they circle back in their early twenties, but those teen years can be particularly difficult for parents to navigate. Parents often just want to know the right questions to ask their teens that'll encourage them to open up, and we've got an assortment that'll help crack that teenage veneer in no time.
Silly Questions to Start Conversations With Your Teens
Teens juggle a ton of responsibilities (school, after-school jobs, sports practices, chores, and managing a social calendar), so it can be hard to catch them in the mood to chat. If you feel like they've started growing distant, use these silly questions as conversation starters with your teens and start breaking the silence.
- If we had a yes day, what would be on the top of your list to make me do?
- What's the weirdest video you've seen online recently?
- If you could start classes for any skill right now, what would it be?
- What's your mood right now - but describe it using only a color?
- If you could make any club at your school, what would it be about?
- We're having a PowerPoint presentation night - what's your presentation about?
- Let's say time travel existed, but you could only go back in time for an hour to see one specific event. What would it be?
- Are there any new social media platforms I should know about to not seem like a dinosaur?
- What's the coolest thing you learned this week?
- If you could choose to be famous, would you?
- What's the most interesting thing going on at school recently?
Thought-Provoking Questions to Get to Know Your Teen Better
The need to avoid anything resembling serious is baked into a teenager's DNA. So, you can't outright ask them the intense questions you're wondering about their lives. Instead, let them unravel their own experiences for you by jumping off of these serious (but fascinating) questions.
- What do you think my biggest childhood dream was?
- Where do you see your sibling ending up in five years?
- When you get up in the morning, what's the thing you're the most excited for?
- The world's really precarious right now and when you feel overwhelmed by everything, what makes you feel better?
- What's the thing you hate the most about social media?
- Do you wish you didn't have to be so online all the time?
- When you think about the future, what's the first thing that pops into your head?
- What's the one thing you wish could've gone differently in your childhood?
- What does success look like to you?
- What's the best piece of advice anyone's given you?
- Are there any people whose lives you'd like to model yours after?
- What are your thoughts about going viral? Is it all it's cracked up to be?
- What do you think a mentor is and do you have any in your life right now?
- What's the thing you like the most about yourself right now?
- Have you made any new friends this year?
Serious Discussion Questions to Get to Bottom of Your Teen's Life
You're not alone if your teen is struggling with various difficulties as they navigate the murky waters of pre-adulthood. Yet, their tendency to isolate or diminish their struggles shouldn't discourage you from asking the tough questions. It's just important that you open the conversation up in a way that'll show them you support their answers - no matter what they are.
- I noticed Narcan's going to be available over-the-counter. Do you think we should get some to keep around the house?
- How are your friends doing lately? Are they making time for you?
- How are you enjoying our meals lately? Is there anything you'd really like me to fix?
- Is anyone catching your eye lately?
- I know you're getting older, and I wanted to ask you if you've thought about how you can stay protected during sex? Or if you're even interested in it?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how's your mental health feeling? Anything bugging you lately?
- Are you feeling supported right now?
- Do you feel like you have people to turn to when things get tough?
- How are you feeling about the future?
- Do you have any passions right now?
- Is there a habit you have that you'd really like to change?
- Up to this point, what's been the worst moment in your life?
- Given the current climate, do you feel safe at school? Is there anything I can do to make you feel safer?
- Do you think we (humans) will still be around in 100 years?
More Question Ideas to Get Your Teens Talking
From silly to serious, there are lots of things you can ask your kids to get conversations going. Try these ideas:
Make Question Games Part of Your Routine
Whether you have two minutes or two hours, off-the-wall questions can be a great starting point get getting your kids talking (and they're fun too). Ask them funny or silly questions over breakfast, in the car, or as part of a family game night. Besides the silly questions above, try Would You Rather Questions for Teens, funny This or That questions, or even some fun random yes or no questions.
Ask Questions to See How Well You Each Other
Sometimes even the simplest questions have surprising answers - and maybe you and your teen don't know each other as well as you think you do. Ask each other questions to see how well the family knows each other. As you find out things about your teen you didn't know, ask specific follow-up questions or details to show them you're interested in who they are and who they're becoming.
Ask Them How You Can Best Support Them
Sometimes teens can't articulate exactly what they need, but prompting might help. Asking questions from above like if they feel supported is a good starting point, but you can also ask them specifically what you can do as their mom or dad to support them better - in school, extracurriculars, their relationships or any other area. If you have an idea, you can suggest it, but try not to pressure them - and listen to their ideas too.
Ask Them to Get Involved With Family Goals
Having your teens be involved in family goals can be another way to help them open up. Ask them about what changes or goals they want to see the family making and work together to create family goals everyone is happy with.
Tips for Having Discussions With Your Teens
Even if you usually have a great relationship with your teens, it's not always easy to talk to them. Both of you both have a lot going on. To make it easier, try these tips.
- Incorporate simple things into your day that show you love your teens. If they feel seen and loved, they might be more likely to open up.
- Start conversation or ask questions over some food or favorite drinks. This can make it more relaxing and fun for everyone.
- Minimize distractions - shut off the tv or music and put away phones or tablets.
- Implement active listening - really focus on what your teen is saying and give them your full attention when they respond to questions.
- Give them space if they don't feel like talking. You can support your teen without stifling. Unless there's a health or safety concern, it's ok to push it off for another time.
Connect With Your Teens by Asking the Right Questions
Teens can be flighty and easily spooked if they get hounded with unwanted questions. So, don't bombard them with an inquisition just because you're bursting with curiosity. Instead, focus on opening a new line of communication with them by asking questions fit for your relationship. Build up to the tough stuff if you're not already there. And asking your teen these questions should give you incredible insight into what makes them tick.