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conversation starters

400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

(Inside: Do you want good conversation starters for your teens? Or great questions to ask your teens to help them open up to the family? Read on…)

Conversation Starters For Teens

Moms want to connect with their teens. We want to know what our teens love and don’t, what’s going well and isn’t, how they best feel heard and loved, and about their friendships, school, and life.

We want to know how they think.

We want to know what makes them happy.

And I could keep listing because the truth is we want to know everything about our teens – we want to know who those sweet babies that we carried and nurtured and rocked are growing up to be.

Teens Want To Be Known

Similarly, teens want to be heard. They want to be seen, loved, and wanted by their parents. Even when they are at their worst, they still want their parents to pursue them, over and over telling (and showing) them they are worthy and loved.

Connecting With Our Teens Can Be Hard

However, life isn’t flawless. Teens can hold it together all day and fall apart when they come home, their moodiness tearing through the house with unbridled force. Or they find themselves lost in stress, or emotions or impulsiveness or self-sabotaging or apathy. But, as moms, we don’t buy any I-don’t-need-you signs. Not even one pennyworth – our teens long to connect with their families.

A Simple Way To Connect That Your Teen Will Like


As my sons grew older, I wanted to add tools to my box of ways to connect with them. In my high school classroom (I’ve taught for 20+ years), I’ve noticed that when I put students in small groups and had them answer anywhere from dumb to ridiculous to basic to thought-provoking questions, kids came alive. They loved sharing their thoughts and flourished in the framework of the presented questions. So, I took this idea home and found my quiet sons opening up with these conversation starters – be still, my heart.

Asking The Right Questions Is Key To Teens Opening-Up: Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

But not everyone feels like opening up at all times. Some teens love to jump into all the talking, while others need to warm up. So, these conversation starters include a variety of questions like…

  • Expected get-to-know-you questions: If you could interview someone who is famous, who would that be?
  • Yes-or-no-quick questions: Is chili a type of soup – yes or no?
  • Get-to-know-their-world questions: What’s the best YouTube or TikTok video you’ve watched lately?
  • Get-to-to-know-their-friends questions: If you were planning a cross-country road trip from Florida to Washington State, which three people would you hope would go with you? Tell me why you chose each person.
  • Reflective questions: You come home super stressed, go into your room and lie down on your bed. You flip on a song – which song is it?
  • Insightful questions: If you were told you had to switch friend groups, which peers at school would you like to get to know more?
  • Faith questions: What do you understand about the trinity?
  • Plus, questions about quotes,  scripture verses, deep topics, tricky subjects and more…

400+ Conversation Starters for Teens Are Broken Into Three Categories

Then these questions are broken into three categories, depending on how deep you want to go with the people involved in the discussion:

  • 200+ Fun Get-to-Know-You Questions: Great for enjoyable conversations between friends, among extended family, or for low-stress evenings.
  • 100+ Dive-Deeper Questions: Designed for close family who wants to really get to know each other. There are hard subjects and personal topics covered in these conversations starters.
  • 100+ Faith-Filled Questions: These questions were created to help everyone reflect on their faith journeys and connect over deep discussions.

How To Use The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens Resource

I’ve found the most success with these questions when I’ve made “a thing” of it. Meaning, just like when we’ve declared family movie night, we plan a family discussion time where everyone is prepared to talk. Here are some ideas of what this could look like:

  • Dinner discussion: We’ve cut up the questions and put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Then maybe every Tuesday is “talk night.” Each family member draws one question to ask the group and discuss.
  • Evening Activity: Instead of playing cards or watching a movie, grab some snacks and get comfortable and everyone picks a number. Those are the questions that you ask each other.
  • Car rides: When you’re riding to church or the store or a game together, maybe you pass the time with a question.
  • And more: There is no right or wrong way to implement the question asking – the purpose is to get to know each other. If teens are asked, they usually have good ideas of how to roll out fun and some would like to lead when/how the questions are asked.

The Goal Is To Connect Over These Conversations For Families Of Teens

Remember, the goal of the conversations is for those involved in the discussion to connect. So even if it’s not all going perfectly, if everyone is talking and laughing and getting to know each other – we’ve nailed it.

Here are 12 Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens for your family to try…

1. What’s that one funny thing that pops into your head when you’re supposed to be serious (at church, in class, at a funeral) that will make you laugh every time?

2. Is chili considered a soup? Yes or No. Is lasagna a casserole? Yes or No.

3. Would you rather be someone who makes a ton of money but isn’t sure if you made a positive
impact on the world or someone who made very little financially but touched many people’s lives?

4. When you’re having a terrible day, what do you do to calm yourself down and shake the stress?

5. If you just got elected governor of your state and you could make one rule that the whole state had to follow, what rule would it be?

6. If you were taking a road trip from Florida to Washington state, which three non-family members would your take with you?

7. What’s a bad habit you wish you could break? Or which bad habit do you have, but you don’t care one bit about giving it up?

8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

9. What’s the class at school that has the best environment? What’s the subject you find the most interesting? Which class do you have the most friends in?

10. What age do you think is the best to be? Why?

11. What is your favorite app on your phone? What’s one app that you really should give up?

12. Would you rather own your own business with some risk but more earning potential or would you rather work for someone else and have a stable income that covers your expenses but not much more?

If you liked those questions, grab the full list of 400+ The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens…

Click the below link to grab the conversation starters for families of teens. As a bonus, I’ll add you to my monthly(ish) parenting tweens and teens inspirational email list. The monthly emails are free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Read the Full Raising Tweens and Teens Series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

how to talk to teens

How to Get Your Tween/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”

(Inside: Communicating with your teen can be hard. If you are wondering how to better communicate with your tweens or teens, here’s a proven method that works.)

“No, I swear – I’m going to graduate! I got this!” the son said to his mom.

“So, how exactly are you going to graduate.” (She’s no dummy.) She pulls up his transcript. He’s failing all of his third-trimester junior classes, so mathematically isn’t able to earn enough credits his senior year to graduate. He’s refusing credit recovery or summer school. He insists it will all work out in the next year even though the math in front of him is showing him it’s impossible. (Another confirmation he needs to retake algebra.)

Photo by Nicholas Githiri from Pexels

This story is not uncommon. It repeats itself in raising tweens and teens on other issues, like:

  • The red flags of an over-controlling boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • The confusion teens experience over why they got fired because I was only late a few times what’s the big deal?
  • The teen who treats her friends like royalty and family like dirt.
  • The teen who continually overcommits then wonders why he’s stressed.
  • The girl who honestly does NOT think all the duck-lipped, sexy photos posted will be seen by potential employers. (“Mom, it’s fine my page is set on public. Employers who hire don’t check these things.” *Yes, they do!*)
  • Teens thinking they are invincible and free from pain – despite their bad choices.
  • The student who’s not organized but that’s everyone else’s fault.

    And so on…

What do you do when you’re tween/teen is making poor choices?

Moms, we love our teens. So, it can be so hard when we see a piece of our hearts (walking around in the form of a tall lanky, human being with braces) making poor choices.

When our kids are self-sabotaging how do we get them to see the light? How do we talk to them so they are intrinsically motivated to take the next right step? How do we get them to a powerful “ah-ha” moment?

We start with what our gut is urging us to do…we talk to our kids…

“How do I better communicate with my teen?”

There are two ways our conversations with our kids sometimes unfold:

  • Method 1: Lecturing
  • Method 2: Questioning


Let’s look closer at both conversation methods…

communicating with teen
Continue the discussion on “communicating with teen” and more by joining our community of moms raising older kids HERE.

Communicating with Teen Method 1: Lecturing

Moms, we mean well, but sometimes, like a freight train on steroids, our talks quickly go from listening to lecturing. For example, here’s how a condensed conversation might go…

Mom: I’ve noticed this problem.
Kid: Yeah, me too.
Mom: The problem is… And you shouldn’t do that because of (moms insert all the reasons and her wisdom here.) 

Kid: Okay…

Mom continues lecturing. The big parenting emotions convince mom that the kid hasn’t made good choices because kid hasn’t previously heard mom’s wise words that have been said a billion times.

So mom revs up her loudest voice. (Yelling is most definitely the solution. Kid can for sure hear me if I yell.)

Kid zones out what is being said because she’s getting yelled at then walks away feeling angry, disappointed, and regretful. However, kid is not focused on the wisdom yelled at her, but rather the yelling itself.

Mom hates that she had to yell and instantly feels guilty. However, the silver lining is that much wisdom was at least shared. (I said what I need to say and now, certainly, my daughter will make a change. However, why do I always have to yell to get her there?)

The next day kid repeats the poor choices. 

Have you been there? Yeah, me too – parenting can be so hard.

how to talk to your teen

Communicating with Teen Method 2: Questioning

But there’s another way to communicate – one that high school teachers (I am one), counselors, and other professionals working with teens have repeatedly proven effective. Let’s look at the questioning method.

In this method, the mom keeps asking questions until she is able to lead her kids to a healthy solution that the kid came up with on his/her own.

(Know this about me: I believe that all kids want to be successful and proud of who they are. I encourage moms to look for that spark in the conversation that proves this.)

Onward…here’s a short, tidy version (probably, overly tidy) of what communicating with your teen and the questioning method looks like:


Mom:
I saw that your missing 15 homework assignments.
Kid: Yeah, so what.
Mom: Do you like that you’re missing that many homework assignments?
Kid: I don’t know, not really.
Mom: Why are you missing so much homework?
Kid: I don’t know, I just don’t like to do it.

Mom: What about it don’t you like?
Kid: It takes so long. I feel unmotivated to sit down in the evening.
Mom: What spot in the house do you feel most motivated to work?
Kid: I guess the kitchen table.
Mom: When do you feel most motivated to do homework?
Kid: I guess in the evening. I need a break after school.

Mom: Okay, so how can I help you make sure you set up a routine that will help you be successful?
Kid: I guess just help remind me that from 6:00-7:00 is homework time.
Mom: What should you do about all the missing homework assignments?
Kid: I’ll find out what I can make up and finish them. 
Mom: Okay, when will you have them done by?
Kid: Give me two days. I’ll work in my study hall.

If your teen is crabby and uncooperative, tell them you’ll give them an hour to let this idea set in, then try again.

And if needed – again! Momma, you are a boss woman!

You recovered from a horrendous c-section.

You juggle a job and bills and highlighting your grey hair.

You will not let this teenager get the best of you.

Deep breaths – you are calm, saintly, and pure. 

This is about your teenager, don’t give them any reason to make this about you – keep the focus on them. And try again.

conversation starters teens
Communicating with your teen can be fun: connect over these conversation starters.

Why the Questioning Method Works for Communicating with Teens

Tweens and teens are tricky. There they want to please their parents and do the right thing, but they sometimes get lost in the many layers of being a teen. But, still, they have pride, want independence, and crave parent approval – this method meets all three of your kids’ wants:

  • They are answering the questions, the control is in their hands. (They maintain their pride.)
  • Your kids are coming up with the solution. This shapes their intrinsic motivation and independence.  Momma, all you are doing is asking questions and thinking of more good questions to get them to a solution. (No need to get angry. You wear a halo. Chirping birds fly peacefully around you. Deep breaths and saintly thoughts, momma.)
  • You continually affirm them. “Yes, that makes sense,” but…then onto the next question. (Remember, those kids love having your approval, even when they say they don’t.)


Let me emphasize again that I gave a condensed version, but expect the conversation to be much more work. 

Video: Lead Your Teen to His/Her Aha Moments

I wrote out the condensed version of how to lead your teen to their own “aha moment,” but this video models it. The counselor walks through:

  • Method 1: Lecturing
  • Method 2: Questioning


Watch until the end and see how the Questioning Method can be powerful and effective. 

The aha moment might come, but change is slow.

If you look at the curriculum of subjects in schools, we teach and re-teach the same material (but add a little more depth) from kindergarten through 12th grade. My second grader brought home a geometry concept I was working on with my 10th graders, and I about fell over.

But, it makes sense. We need to see content multiple times to remember it.  You might get your kid to the aha moment (“Now, I get why I should be responsible”), but remember he/she is continually learning the necessary behavior to support these new responsible actions.

Parents, being patient and consistent (so hard!) will help our kids relearn and remember the next right step they came up with for themselves.

Change is slow, but the work is important.

Your work is important.

Keep talking to your kids. Reteach that “aha” moment. Keep moving forward.

Moms, our work is vital. If you are willing to invest this time learning how to better talk to your kids – you are a rockstar. You kids hit the parenting jackpot. And if they don’t know it, they will.

In the future, I bet how lucky they are to have you as a mom will be one of their “aha” moments. 

If you aren’t just concerned about communicating with your teen but also, raising great kids – dive into the full raising tweens and teens series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

Raising Tweens/Teens Series

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: THis One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best

communicating with teen
Continue the discussion on “communicating with teen” and more by joining our community of moms raising older kids HERE.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped your kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s a fantastic life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
communicating with teen
Continue the discussion on “communicating with teen” and more by joining our community of moms raising older kids HERE.