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family at dinner table

The Lasting Power of a Simple Meal: It’s Not Just Your Family at the Dinner Table, It’s More

(Inside: Moms, we think it’s just our family at the dinner table, another meal, nothing special, but it’s so much more than that…)

It’s not just dinner.

Moms, we think it’s just dinner, but we forget.

It’s not just noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a side of broccoli.

Or pizza showing up at our door.

Or chicken sandwiches ordered from a booth.

It’s a place for our family to fill their empty bellies – a mood booster and an energy-giver.

It’s a place to unpack your thoughts and process your day. To be heard and to listen. And for your family to speak truth and encouragement into each other’s lives.

It’s a place to just focus on eating because everyone’s too tired to talk, but it’s your safe place to simply sit and be. The dinner table is a place to belong.

It’s a place for good conversations. And belly laughs. And heated debates. And dumb topics. And intellectual thoughts.

family at dinner table
Do you want to make your meals more interesting? Discuss these awesome conversation starters for families of teens.

At the end of a busy day, we can quickly throw together/order/pick up something to eat and not think anything more about it. But it’s not just dinner.

It’s a pause in life to soak in the people you love. To refuel your body. To show and receive emotional support. To create and deepen family connections. To nurture a sense of belonging.

Life gets busy and this certainly isn’t going to happen every single night.

But, that rhythm of continually coming back to family meals.

It’s not just dinner.

It’s life.

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

Want to connect more than over your family at the dinner table? Read more in the “Create Family Connections” series.

We all want to feel connected to our family. I know, I do. 

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to create family time. Yes, life gets busy, and no I don’t do this all perfectly (who actually does!?!), but it sure is fun to try. 

I hope you enjoy these family connection articles and ideas too…

FAMILY ACTIVITIES
400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family (+ Prayer Journal)

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES
My Big Kids, No Matter How Fast Your Grow, I’ll Always Be Your Mom 
Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want

CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS
30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family at dinner table

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 kids, 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 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. 

family at dinner table
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 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 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 want to get to know each other. There are hard subjects and personal topics covered in these conversation 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 you 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.

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

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 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. 

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

family movies tweens teens

Best Family Movies for Tweens and Teens

(Inside: Best family movies for tweens and teens. Get the ultimate list of movies for tweens and teens that your family will love.)

A big bowl of popcorn, the family piled on the couch, and a great movie – those are some of my best childhood memories.

Now as a mom, after a busy week, it feels so good to crash on the couch with my favorite people and watch something great. 

So I made an ultimate go-to list of best family movies. Of course, all movies aren’t best for every family, it depends on the ages of your kids, their interests, and how good you are with the fast-forward button. But, all the below movies are PG-13 (except one) or lower and have solid storylines.

I hope you find something your family will like. 

best family movies tweens teens

Best Family Movies
for Tweens and Teens

**This blog post contains affiliate links, which mean if you purchase through the link, I get a small commission at no extra charge to you.**

Musicals Series

See 100 more best musical movies here, but listed below are my favorites. 

Adventure/Drama Series

family at dinner table
Connect with your family over THESE 400+ Conversation Starters.

Comedy Movies

For more comedy movies go here and here.

best family movies tweens and teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Adventure/Action Movies

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character

Drama Movies

best family movies tweens teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Sports Movies

Science Fiction/Fantasy Movies

Related Article: One Thing Every Middle School Parent Should Know

best family movies tweens teens
Get-to-know-you questions, diver-deeper questions, and faith-filled questions. Read more about the conversation starters here.

Marvel Movies

We’re huge Marvel fans and have watched all of these movies, except Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes 1 & 2 aren’t our favorite for family movies. If you’d like to know the chronological order in which to watch the Marvel movies, check out this website. 

Animated Disney Movies

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Classic Disney Movies (Not animated)

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Other animated Movies

Click here to see a list of all Disney Movies. I listed my recommendations below.

Related article: Best Family Devotions That  Create Family Connection

Watching family movies is great, but there are more ways to connect. Read more in the description here.

DC Movies

DC movies are a bit dark for our family; we don’t watch all of them. I listed the movies we like; however, if you want to see a full list of DC movies go here. 

Star Wars Movies

best family movies tweens teens

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”  

You are raising tweens and teens – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.

We’re finally believing all those “they grow so fast” comments. This is your last hurray with kids in your home and you want to love every minute.  

You’re taking a second look at your career, your hobbies, how to share your gifts and talents. 

Parenting grows your faith and then makes you wonder where your faith is. 

You long for friendships and deep relationships, but you’re just so busy. 

You’d love a quick place to connect and feel encouraged.  

Join the hundreds of other women who’ve signed up for Empowered Moms and Kid’s inspirational monthly emails. You’ll look forward to opening them. (Plus, it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.)  

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

 

 

exercise ideas for teens

Home Exercises for Teens: Feel Happy & Healthy

(Inside: Exercise ideas for teens that will help spark a love of movement. These home exercises can help your family feel happy and healthy during the quarantine.)

We’re 11 days into this coronavirus-stay-at-home pandemic and here’s what I’m learning. When spending every waking second together, if we don’t exercise, we get a little, ahem, shall I say…temperamental…

Photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash

Growling becomes our thing. It’s really, really…NOT lovely.

But, exercise helps.

A lot. 

Moving our bodies lifts our spirits and makes us kinder, gentler people.

However, even though our brains know this, our bodies want to eat Cheetos and watch superhero movies. We have to force ourselves to push past I-don’t-feel-like-it and just start.

Exercise Ideas for Teens

Since PE class is canceled, sports seasons are postponed and friends aren’t allowed over, we’ve had to be creative and intentional about trying to move for 30-60 minutes a day in our home. 

We’ve made it a family expectation, and honestly, staying consistent(ish) with it is going fairly well. We all seem to like our chosen activity.

So, here are some awesome ideas to release those happy endorphins, written specifically for teens, but also for siblings and parents…

Related article: Compelling Books High Schoolers Will Want to Read

1. Sports

If your teen loves sports, this quarantine is an awesome opportunity to work on their skills. Teens can research drills for their sport and come up with a training plan. Here are some ideas:

2. Yoga

For those who don’t love high-endurance exercising, yoga just might be perfect for them. The stretching and breathing can be an instant mood booster. Here are a few places to start:

3. At-home equipment

Time to stop using the treadmill or bike to hang your laundry on… Dust it off, tuck earbuds in, crank up the music or inspirational podcasts, and get that body moving. 

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

4. Use the stairs

I grew up in small homes on the various military bases where my dad was stationed – we didn’t ever have extra space for equipment. My dad would set a timer and huff it up and down the stairs. Even 10 or 15 minutes will help us all break a sweat. 

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

5. Go for a walk

We can grab our dogs (coronavirus is the best thing that’s happened to them), a skateboard, favorite music and enjoy a walk. There’s nothing like nature. 

Related article: 15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

Photo by Chris Osmond on Unsplash

5. Ride your bike

There’s a reason why biking is so popular, it’s so much fun. Rekindle the love of two wheels and enjoy being outside through biking. 

Related Link: Everything’s been canceled – but, love hasn’t…

Photo by Murillo de Paula on Unsplash

6. Dance!

I threw on a song and pulled out my nineties moves. My boys were not into it… They ran. But, that’s exercise too so I’m calling it a parenting win.

However, for those that like to dance, here are some fun videos:

7. Strength and conditioning routines

There are so many great videos that focus on strength and conditioning. I can usually talk myself into 10 minutes. Then once I’ve warmed up, I can talk myself into one more video. Here are a few of my favorites:

8. Cardio workout videos

I forgot how much I like a quality exercise video. These are some good ones:

9. Kickboxing

Kickboxing makes exercising way more fun. Here are some quality routines:

10. Play!

There are so many ways to move that don’t feel like exercising because they’re fun:

  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • play tag, ghosts in a graveyard, or capture the flag with your siblings
  • garden
  • jump on the trampoline
  • create street art out of chalk
  • fly a kite
  • shoot hoops – play PIG or HORSE
  • create a fort outside, craft something (think of all the up and down, lifting and moving you do when you create)
  • sculpt your yard – mow, stain your deck, create a pretty outdoor space for your family (working is my version of play)
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

11. Clean!

I saved the best for last and I’m so incredibly serious about this idea. I can work up a sweat cleaning out closets, vacuuming, and moving laundry around.  Multitask by cleaning/organizing/purging clutter. Get your sweat on and see your rewarding result – a clean, organized room. Need inspiration? Watch Marie Kondo on NetFlix. Or watch her tips below. (Grab a family cleaning chart to help things go well here.)

A clean, tidy space is so nice to walk into – this could be your room!

Photo by House Method on Unsplash

Exercise Ideas for Teens: Your turn!

What’s your favorite way to exercise? Email me or let me know in the comments. 

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

For more than exercise ideas for teens, read the full “entertaining tweens and teens” series…

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

Entertaining Tweens and Teens Series

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

exercise ideas for teens

Join this community of moms of older kids

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 kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories 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. 

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.)

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.

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. 

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

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
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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. 

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