Help! I have a teenager and we don’t communicate anymore?

“50” Great Questions to Engage Your Child!

The other night I was having dinner by myself on the Santa Cruz Warf, in Santa Cruz, California. They have a great dinner special at a decent price, but that’s another story.

As I was sitting there enjoying watching sail boats gliding by in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. A Mom and her daughter were seated next to me. My yummy food arrived and I began to eat and continued to enjoy the views when all of a sudden it hit me, neither the Mom nor daughter were talking. As a matter of fact, the daughter was on her phone the entire time.

I glanced over for a brief moment and the Mom caught my eye and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ” I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to say?”

They ended up communicating only when the waiter came by, but for their entire meal they sat there in an uncomfortable silence. Finally they paid the bill got up and left.

I have seen this scenario play out over and over again. I’m sure that mom loved her daughter and I’m sure that daughter loved her mom. They carved out time in their day to spend time together. Could it be that isn’t the problem? Could it be that maybe parents just don’t know how to ask the right questions when it comes to their teenagers?

I have spoken to more parents that have shared with me, “When my child became a teenager I started to struggle to have a decent conversation with them.” What has happened? Why is it so hard to communicate with the most important people in our lives?

I think it’s because the way we ask our questions. If you want to end a conversation real quickly ask closed ended questions. If you ask: How was school? or How was practice? Typically your child will give the classic, “Fine” or “OK” as their answer.

I encourage parents to ask OPEN ENDED questions to engage their child in meaningful conversations.

Here are the 50 best questions I have used to engage my own children. Why not try a couple of  these today while your driving or hanging out at the park or on a hike…

What was a high point and a low point of your day?                                                                What the most delicious food you can think of?
What’s the funniest “You Tube” you have watched recently?
If you could choose to have a superpower, what would you choose?
What does Mommy do the best?
What does Daddy do the best?
What’s do you do the best?
What’s the funniest word you know?                                                                                                   If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
What’s the hardest thing about being a child?
What do you think is the hardest thing about being an adult?
If you could teach the world something, what would you teach?
What’s the best book you’ve read this year? Why?
What are you most thankful for?
If you could build your own home, what would it look like?
If you could change something, what would you change?
What’s your favorite part of the day?
Who’s your best friend? Why do you like that person so much?
What is one of your favorite memories?
Can you tell me a joke?
Is there anything you’re worried about?                                                                                     What are you most afraid of?
If you could ask me one question what would it be?                                                             What’s your favorite toy?
What job looks like it’s very difficult?
What job looks like it’s a lot of fun?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What’s the best thing about being you?
What’s your favorite room in our house?
Do you like your name? Why or why not?
What’s the bravest thing you’ve done?
Do you like being alone or being with a lot of people better?
If you were the parent, what would you do differently.
What’s your favorite song?
What do you wish you had more time to do?
What do you wish you didn’t have to do at all?
What would you do with 1 million dollars?
If you could take only five things with you to a deserted island, what would they be?
From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, what would the perfect day look like?
Would you rather spend more time in the city, in the country, at the beach or mall? Why?
What’s your favorite store?
What’s your favorite holiday?
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
What’s your favorite dessert?
What’s something you like that you don’t think a lot of other people like?
What’s somethings a lot of other people seem to like that you don’t really like?
If a genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?
What’s your favorite restaurant?
If there was a book or movie about your life, what would it be called?
Do you think you’re an early bird, a night owl, or neither?

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite question or engaging question you have used to spark a conversation? Please share with me. Let’s strive to become the best conversation of the day for our kids!IMG_4199

 

 

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About cwysongblog

Chuck Wysong is Executive Director at Mission Springs Camps and Conferences. He has served as founding pastor at Life Community Church. He loves church planting and he has served as a youth pastor for 20 plus years in Youth for Christ, Young Life, local churches and Director of Youth Ministry for the Evangelical Covenant Church.
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