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Right let’s be completely honest, getting teenagers to talk can often be an extremely difficult task. The worst part is that as they are your kids you would think that it would be easy!
Getting them to talk is about on par difficulty-wise with why do they spend so much time in their rooms. But as parents, we do need to remember that our teenagers have a lot going on at this time in their life.
They are changing so much each day and are often being asked to make decisions that could potentially affect the rest of their lives – so we do need to cut them slack!
To put your mind at rest, do not think for one minute that you are the only parent struggling with this – you are not alone.
In fact, many parents struggle to converse with their teenagers, some evens struggle with small talk.
But these conversations give them the opportunities to express themselves and for you as a parent to learn about them, to nurture them, and to accept the adults that they are becoming.
These conversations often feel difficult and awkward but are key to building a strong and trusting adult relationship with them. So with this in mind here are some great conversation starters for teens to help you get to know them better.
Table of Contents
- 1 Conversation topics
- 2 School, Interests, and Activities
- 3 Friends, Family, and Relationships
- 4 Personality and Their Future
- 5 Food, Possessions, and Money
- 6 Emotions, Dreams, Memories, and Life Events
- 7 More Hypothetical and Existential Questions
- 8 8 Ways To Get Teens To Open Up
- 8.1 1. Take an interest in their interests.
- 8.2 2. More family time
- 8.3 3. Keep the conversation casual not confrontational
- 8.4 4. Make the most of daily tasks
- 8.5 5. Lead by example
- 8.6 6. Listen, always listen
- 8.7 7. Be understanding
- 8.8 8. Be a shoulder to lean on
- 9 The Final Thought
- Family and friends
- Activities and interests
- Their future
- Possessions and money
- Emotions and dreams
- Memories and life events
- Hypothetical and existential questions
School, Interests, and Activities
- What is your favorite subject in school and why do you like it?
- What is your least favorite class in school and why?
- Which class is the most interesting?
- Do you enjoy school?
- Are you a part of any clubs?
- If you were a teacher for a day, what subject would you want to teach?
- Do you think cell phones should be allowed in school?
- Is there a college or university you’d like to attend?
- Do you have a favorite teacher?
- What’s the most interesting assignment you’ve worked on this year?
- What are your grades like?
- Have you worked your first job yet?
- What is your school mascot?
- Do you enjoy going to school games?
- What classes are you taking now?
- Have you had any hard tests lately?
- How do you get to school?
- Have you applied for any summer jobs?
Interests and Activities
- What do you like doing after school?
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you play video games, if so which ones?
- Do like to read?
- What was your favorite book when you were little?
- What is your favorite book now?
- Do you like listening to music?
- Who is your favorite singer/band?
- What is your favorite genre?
- What’s your favorite song?
- Do you play any sports, if so which ones?
- Do you play any musical instruments?
- What is something you like to do when you’re bored?
- What is something that you feel passionately about in life?
- What would your perfect day consist of?
- What talent or skills do you have?
- Do you speak any other languages, if so which ones?
- Where’s your favorite place to hang out?
- Do you prefer TV shows or movies?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What’s your favorite TV show?
- Do you enjoy cooking?
- What’s your favorite thing to cook?
- What is your favorite season and why?
- Who or what makes you laugh the most?
Friends, Family, and Relationships
- What makes someone a good friend?
- What makes someone a bad friend?
- Do you have one or two close friends or do you prefer having a big group of friends?
- Do you have any friends that you’re worried about right now?
- Is there anyone in school that you’d like to get to know better?
- Who is your best friend?
- Would you rather spend all day inside reading or out with friends?
- Who are your close friends?
- What do you like to do with your friends?
- How long have you known your friends?
- How long have you been friends with them?
- Have you ever grown out of a friendship?
- Do you miss that friendship?
- Are you close to your family?
- Do you have any siblings?
- If so, how many and how old are they?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how strict are your parents?
- Are you close with your siblings?
- Do you have any pets?
- If so, how many and what are they?
- Who are you closest to in your family and why?
- Do you live close to your extended family?
- Which of your parents are you most like?
- What do you call your grandparents?
- Are there any TV shows you like to watch with your family?
- Do you have any family traditions?
- What do your parents do for a living?
- Are you close with your neighbors?
- Do you like anyone right now?
- Why do you like them?
- What qualities make a good partner?
- What qualities make a bad partner?
- Have you ever dated someone before?
- Who is your celebrity crush?
- Have you had your first kiss yet?
- Would you rather date someone older or younger than you?
Personality and Their Future
- Would you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert?
- What would you say is one of your weaknesses?
- Have you ever wanted to be popular?
- Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors?
- Are you a cat or a dog person?
- What is something you really like about yourself?
- What is your ultimate goal in life?
- What scares you about the future?
- What is your dream job?
- What are your plans for the future?
- Do you have a bucket list?
- If so, what is the first thing on it?
- What do you think life looks like 10 years from now?
- What kind of place do you think the world will be 25 years from now?
Food, Possessions, and Money
- What is your favorite food?
- What is your favorite dessert?
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
- What is your favorite meal of the day?
- What is your favorite restaurant?
- If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
- Do you like spicy food?
- Do you prefer savory or sweet snacks?
- Would you rather eat at a restaurant or get take out?
- Hamburgers or pizza?
- What dish would you like to try that you never have before?
- Where do you like shopping for clothes?
- Which possession do you cherish the most and why?
- When you were young, did you have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket?
- Do you like to keep your room neat and organized or messy?
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which possession would you like to have with you?
- What was the last thing you bought with your own money?
- Do you prefer to save your money or spend it?
- If someone gave you $1000 and told you to give it to charity, which charity would you give it to and why?
- If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
- How do you feel about money?
- What does money mean to you?
Emotions, Dreams, Memories, and Life Events
Emotions and Dreams
- What is the best part of your day?
- Do you ever feel left out or lonely?
- What scares you the most?
- What helps you feel better when you’re stressed or upset?
- What is your biggest fear?
- Do you have any dark secrets?
- What’s the best thing about being a teenager?
- What’s the worst thing about being a teenager?
- If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
Memories and Life Events
- What is one of your earliest memories?
- Where did you go on your most recent vacation?
- What’s your greatest achievement so far?
- What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done in your life?
- What’s your biggest regret in life so far?
- What is your most embarrassing moment?
- What is the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
- What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
More Hypothetical and Existential Questions
Hypothetical and Existential
- Would you rather be five years younger or five years older?
- Would you rather burn to death or freeze to death?
- Would you rather have no legs or no arms?
- Would you rather live on a beach or in the mountains?
- Would you rather have no hearing or no sight?
- If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
- If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
- If you could star in any movie, what movie would it be?
- Is ever okay to lie?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- If you died right now, is there anything you would regret not saying or doing?
- If you were given the chance to become immortal, would you take it?
- If it were up to you, how would you change the world?
- If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
- What would you want to be famous for?
- Do you ever wish you could go back in time and be a little kid again?
- If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Which things have you achieved that you didn’t think you would?
- Which is worse, a python or a tarantula?
- What age would you choose to stay at if you could?
- Which is your biggest fear; the ocean, tight spaces, or heights?
- Which year, century or decade would you travel back to?
- What would you change if you could relive this entire week?
- What would you do if you only had a month left to live?
- How many places have you lived in?
- What or who inspires you?
- What are your thoughts about social media?
- What have you learned the most about yourself in the last year?
- Has there been an incident in your life that has changed the way you see life?
- What’s your dream vacation destination?
- Top five places in the world you’d like to visit?
- What’s the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen in nature?
- What skill would you like to learn and why?
- Which charity would you volunteer for and why?
- What is your biggest pet peeve?
- How would you decorate your room if you had no budget?
- Do you prefer silver or gold jewelry?
- Do you want to get married one day?
- Do you want children one day?
- If so, how many?
- If you could have dinner with any famous person, who would it be?
- If you could be shorter or taller, which would you be?
- Which famous person don’t you like and why?
- What is one thing you can’t live without?
- Would you rather work in an office or outdoors?
- Do you collect anything?
- Have you ever been to a concert?
- If so, who’s and where?
- What video games console do you like to use?
- Do you enjoy writing?
- Who are your role models and why?
- What restaurant could you not live without?
- If you had to pick, what would your death row meal be?
- Do you like to watch sports, if so, which ones?
- Do you have your driver’s license?
- Do you prefer the city or the country?
- What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
- Have you ever been outside of the country?
- If so, where?
- What is your favorite flower?
- What is your favorite color?
- What is your favorite gemstone?
- What is your favorite fruit?
- What is your favorite number?
- What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?
- What is your favorite vegetable?
8 Ways To Get Teens To Open Up
1. Take an interest in their interests.
Try to take an interest in what your kids are interested in. This could be sci-fi movies or rock climbing. Music is always a good one as teenagers tend to spend an awful lot of time listening to music, probably more than they watch tv.
Getting involved gives you some great talking points if you’re having trouble communicating.
You don’t have to pretend to like the music, movie, or sport but the key is to show some sort of interest so that they feel comfortable talking to you about it.
2. More family time
Try to create informal opportunities to chat with your children, this could be over breakfast, all sitting down for an evening meal together.
This is what we do in our house. There are no phones or gadgets at the table and we have a chance to chat about what’s happened or what is going on not just in their lives but everyone’s.
It does provide some great opportunities to read between the lines and find out what may be troubling your teenagers. Don’t worry if it feels a little awkward, to begin with, it will get easier very quickly.
Some subjects may need a one-to-one conversation but eating together promotes natural conversation.
3. Keep the conversation casual not confrontational
Teenagers hate confrontation, especially about problems or fears that they are dealing with. Take a proactive approach to getting as much information from them as possible without intimidating them.
Instead of grilling them, invite them to have a more casual chat about the day. You could even refer back to tv series, movies, or music that they like.
It is important that you understand that your children are forming their own opinions about some tough topics and that they may not always be the same as yours.
Use your casual chat about tv and their social lives to gauge where your teenagers may be having issues. Also, know when to stop pushing for further information and when to keep going.
4. Make the most of daily tasks
Some daily tasks you can not avoid like the drive to and from school, chores, cooking dinner, and shopping. However, you can make the most of this time with your teenager, here are some examples:
Ok, there are not many more stressful things to do with your teen than teaching them to drive.
But it does give you the opportunity to have some one-to-one time which can be a great opportunity for your teen to speak to you if your household is a busy one.
Driving also gives you the chance to talk about something different, you could talk about the rules of the road, how it makes them feel, the different vehicles they encounter, and so on.
On the drive
While driving it is quite difficult to make eye contact so this often makes teenagers feel less guarded and allows them to open up about an uncomfortable subject. Let the conversation flow naturally and see where it takes you.
These chores have to be done, so why not make them a little more fun by making a little competition with your teenager. The first one to finish a chore gets to ask the other a question that they want.
Clothes shopping can make many teens feel very self-conscious. But it can also offer the opportunity to find out what your teen thinks about body image and how advertisements can distort the truth.
5. Lead by example
If you are having trouble getting your teen to talk to you, then you could try leading by example. Talk to them about your own day, how you handled a difficult situation, and what you set out to do.
If applicable you can also talk about your own experiences as a teenager with your own parents. Children especially teenagers need to see their parents as humans and realize that you to were once their age.
You don’t need to give them every detail about your teenage years but do be honest with them about things like drugs, sex, alcohol, or bullying. If they see that you are being honest they are far more likely to share their own problems with you.
6. Listen, always listen
You may be tired, it’s the end of the day and all you want to do is sit down and relax. But if your teenager comes to you wanting to talk about a problem or worry, take the time to listen.
You will need to put aside your own feelings and stresses and pay special attention to what your child is telling you. When teenagers seek out your help then it is vitally important that you are there for them.
And you should be flattered that they actually came to you with a problem – this means that they must trust you.
7. Be understanding
Being able to effectively communicate with your teenagers starts with you being able to show understanding.
They will be actively watching you for signs of whether they are about to get a lecture, give them advice or maybe offer some suggestions. Let them speak and really listen to them before you offer your words of wisdom.
If you are there for them when they come to you, then you stand a much better chance of them coming to you for all sorts of problems.
Avoid the following:
Some subjects require a serious approach and joking can make your teens feel like their problems are being mocked.
No one wants to be lectured on what they should have or could have done. Give them time to say what they need to say before talking about your own ideas.
Let them finish what they need to say before offering your opinion.
Some difficult subjects such as sex, drinking, and relationships often require longer discussions. But try not to judge your teenager, be patient, and listen to what they have to say.
8. Be a shoulder to lean on
Even though your teenagers are growing up, you can still help them figure things out. Sit down and help them come up with a pros and cons list.
But ensure that they come up with good solutions and that you are not just spoon-feeding them. By encouraging proactive thinking in your children you can help them to think of different ways to resolve difficult situations.
The Final Thought
Our teenage children may be difficult nuts to crack. But making an effort to talk to them about things that they want to and asking questions that show a genuine interest in learning about them will help to bridge the gap.
Try starting out with some of our conversation starters above or you could try some other questions to ask kids and see where it takes you both. Good luck!