Getting your teenagers talking can be quite a challenge. You’ve probably had a conversation that went something like this:
Parent: Did you have a good day?
Parent: What did you do?
Parent: Did anything exciting happen?
Parent: Any plans for the weekend?
Teen: Not really.
Some of the challenge in parent-teen conversation is due to the type of questions parents ask. When parents ask questions that can be answered with one or two words, they usually don’t lead to great conversations.
To get your family talking, try using open-ended questions that create the possibility for more engagement in conversation. These won’t guarantee long answers from your teen, but the more thought you put into the questions you ask, the better the chances are that your kids will engage with you.
Here are some suggestions for open-ended questions which may help you get thinking about creating your own:
• What was your understanding of what happened when _____________?
• What would you like to see happen when you ____________?
• What do you think caused them to ____________?
• How do you feel about ____________?
• What were you thinking when _____________?
• What were the two best things that happened to you today?
• What made your day good (or bad)?
• What was the most surprising thing about your day?
• What do you feel are the biggest issues your friends face right now?
• What do you hope your life will look like 10 years from now?
• What worries you most about becoming an adult?
• How has your opinion of our family changed over the years?
• What do you think a perfect parent would look like?
• If you could change something about our family, what would it be?
• If you had to choose, what would you say is the best decision you’ve ever made?
• What sorts of things are most important to you in life right now?
By Jim Liebelt