How many times have you tried to ask your child about their day, and received one word or a grunt as a response? It can sometimes be like pulling teeth to get children or teens to actually engage in a conversation with you. This can be so frustrating for parents who really want to connect and engage with their kids.
I’ve also noticed that sometimes day-to-day life tends to take over parent-child conversations. Interactions revolve around chores, homework, dinner, and activities. There’s nothing wrong with talking about these things, but to develop a closer bond with your child, you also want to go deeper in your conversations. Having conversations about topics such as relationships, values, and spirituality can be helpful for your child and strengthen your relationship with them at the same time.
Here’s a list of questions that can spark conversations that will help you connect more with your children. I think most of these would be great for kids of any age, although you may need to word them a bit differently depending on your child’s age and maturity level.
Pick and choose the questions you think would be best for your child, and then feel free to elaborate on them as much as possible based on your child’s responses. You may fare better if you try to engage at a time where your child isn’t tired, hungry or busy. Ask them to go out for ice cream or run errands with you, and use the one-on-one time to ask one or two of these questions. Don’t ask too many of these at once, but instead try to use them as a starting point for a more in-depth conversation. Remember to listen closely to your child’s responses, and if you want to respond, share your thoughts in a non-judgmental way, without lecturing or shaming. Be honest and thoughtful with your own responses as well. Good luck!
1. What is something you like about yourself?
2. What is one of your earliest memories?
3. What’s one of your favorite memories?
4. What’s the hardest part of your life right now?
5. What do you worry about the most?
6. What helps you feel better when you’re upset or stressed?
7. What can I do to help you when you’re upset or stressed?
8. How often do you feel sad?
9. When have you felt angry recently?
10. When are some times you’ve felt worried?
11. What hurts your feelings?
12. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
13. What does your perfect day look like?
14. If you could be famous, would you? What would you want to be famous for?
15. What was the best (or worst) thing that happened at school today?
16. What was something that made you laugh today?
17. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class?
18. Who would you not want to sit by in class? Why?
19. What was your favorite part of lunch or recess?
20. What part of the day do you look forward to?
21. What part of the day do you dread?
22. Which class are you learning the most in?
23. Which class are you learning the least in?
24. What do you think you want to do when you graduate?
25. Are there any bullies in your classes?
26. Have they ever targeted you? How do you deal with them?
27. Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her? What do you think they like about you?
28. Who do you wish would listen more closely to you?
29. Do you have any friends you’re worried about right now?
30. Are you happy with the number of friends you have?
31. Do you ever feel lonely or left out?
32. What makes a good friend?
33. Who in your class is a really good friend to others?
34. What makes someone a bad friend?
35. Has anyone ever been a bad friend to you?
36. What does it mean to be popular at your school?
37. Do you want to be popular?
38. What do you think true popularity looks like?
39. Would you consider yourself more shy or outgoing?
40. Is there anyone at school that you would like to get to know better?
41. Is there anyone at school that seems to get left out or teased a lot?
42. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
43. Do your friends have boyfriends/girlfriends?
44. Who do you think has a healthy dating relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend? Who doesn’t?
45. What makes a healthy relationship?
46. Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
47. What are the qualities you would look for in someone you want to date?
48. Is there anyone you have a crush on?
49. What do you like about them?
50. Is there anything about them that might be a “red flag” or you’re not sure about?
51. Do you know anyone who’s gay?
52. Does anyone treat them differently?
53. What do you think about that?
54. How old do you think you have to be to fall in love? What about get married?
55. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
56. What is your goal in life?
57. What do you hope your life will be like 10 years from now?
58. If you had $100 (or $1000, etc) to spend, how would you spend it?
59. Would you ever get a tattoo? Why or why not? What would it be?
60. What do you like most about me/your other parent/siblings?
61. What would you change about me/ other parent/ sibling?
62. What do you think I like most about you?
63. What do you think I would change about you?
64. What is something you wish I would do more often?
65. Less often?
66. Do you feel comfortable talking to me about anything?
67. What could I do to make you feel more comfortable?
68. How do you think your friends’ family relationships compare to ours? Are they closer/more distant? Why do you think that?
69. Is there anything you wish our family would do together more often?
70. Do you think the discipline in our family is fair? What would you change?
71. Do you believe in God? Why or why not?
72. If so, how do you picture God?
73. What do you think happens after death?
74. Do you think there is one best religion?
75. What do you think is the meaning of life?
76. Do adults automatically deserve respect? Do kids?
77. How do people earn respect?
78. How would you change the world if you could?
79. Do you think it’s ever okay to lie? What kinds of situations?
80. Who do you look up to? Why?
81. Who do you think looks up to you?
82. What do you think are the three most important traits a person could have?
83. What are three things that you are grateful for today?
Some of these questions were inspired by the following links. Check them out for even more ideas!