Here are 4 good conversation starters for your family to enjoy right now.
We know that once our kids begin talking they won’t stop.
The challenge, though, is as they get older and more private, it’s getting them to start talking.
It’s like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, you just have to oil them up and then they’re off to the races, sharing everything that’s going on in their life.
And that is what we want as parents.
As John Finch shared with me recently, if you really want to know what’s going on in your kid’s life, all you have to do is listen.
In order to listen, though, we’ve got to get them talking, and thus why we created conversation starter cards for families to use.
They share a quick story that tweens and teens love, and then ask an open-ended question that gets a good conversation going.
Think of the card like oil in the tin man. Once started, off they go talking about everything.
So get ready to dive into what could be four deep conversation starters with your child.
4 Good Conversation Starters for your Family
Alicia will always be memorable as Cher in the famous ‘Clueless’ movie. Although she hasn’t appeared in many movies since, she’s since become an author and activist.
Question: Do you think it’s a problem attaching your sense of self worth to accomplishments or external things? If so, why?
This is an important conversation not only for kids, but for adults as well. Too often, we attach our performance or success at work to our self-worth. Which means that if we’re repeatedly passed up for a promotion or if a business that we’re trying to launch just refuses to monetize… suddenly we feel bad about ourselves.
It’s the same with kids, though. Sports performance and academic performance is so highly valued that kids attach their performance to their identity and self-worth.
We can’t attach our self-worth or identity to anything outside of ourselves.
Even if it’s something we love.
For example, you could see yourself as a HUGE fan of a specific band. The posters are all over your walls. You’re the first of your friends to buy their new album.
But what happens when the band falls apart or just moves on to other things.
As another example… what if you have attached your identity to the fact that you are going to be a med student when you graduate high school. You head off to college and discover that it’s actually art that really feeds your soul.
If you’ve fully identified yourself as a “med student,” chances are you won’t have the courage to change your path. You’ll stay a med student even if you’d rather be pursuing art.
The point is, you need to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth internally.
Some ways to improve your self-worth/self-esteem are:
- Recognize that failure is just part of the process
- See challenges as the opportunity to grow, learn and expand your interests and abilities
- Practice self-compassion: what would you say to a friend in your situation? Also, start writing or listening to affirmations daily
Singer Adele has a dire fear of other celebs. Inspired by Beyoncé’s alter ego, Sasha Fierce, she decided to create her own imaginary self: Sasha Carter—a melding of Sasha Fierce and June Carter, the country star. Now when Adele faces intimidating situations, it’s bold Sasha Carter who steps in.
Question: What fear would you like to conquer?
I love this story of Adele. And it’s incredible how she’s manipulated her mind into conquering her fear.
Most of us know what our kids (or spouses for that matter) are afraid of. The big things like spiders and snakes, for example. But what about the other stuff? The stuff we don’t talk about?
Once your child has identified any fear, the next thing to ask is: what’s a first step you can take to overcome that fear?
I think identifying the next step is important. If your fear is getting on a plane, the idea of conquering that fear could be terrifying. But if you break it into smaller steps, it’s more manageable.
So perhaps it’s visualizing stepping on the plane. Or maybe it’s gradually introducing yourself to the thing you want to face head on. Or perhaps it’s just jumping in and facing your fear directly.
Some other questions to ask are:
- Does the fear stop you from doing something you want to do?
- Are there any false beliefs about your fear? (Our brain often plays tricks on us. Is the thing we are afraid of really likely to happen?)
- What’s happening that triggers the fear? Can you talk your brain into calming down and realizing the fear isn’t real?
During a VMA acceptance speech, Pink addressed a concern of her daughter’s that she wasn’t pretty enough and looks like a boy. Pink said she, herself, was made fun of and called a boy but she didn’t change a thing about herself. Her message: just be YOU.
Question: We have all felt lonely or rejected at some point. What have you done to overcome this?
We HAVE all felt lonely or rejected from time to time. Even as adults.
Which is why opening up to your kids about a time or times that you’ve felt lonely or rejected is a good way to get them to open up as well (and not shrug it off and say it’s never happened to them).
Some additional questions to ask are:
- What advice would you give to a friend who is feeling this way?
- Do social media posts ever make you or your friends feel rejected or lonely? FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real thing and it does make people depressed (including adults).
- Some strategies for combating it are: calling a friend, talking to a parent, or making plans to do something else you really love doing (that doesn’t even involve social media), or even starting a new hobby where you could potentially meet new friends (if that’s the problem)
Oprah said encouraging everyone at her office to meditate has hugely benefited her company. People are sleeping better, moods are higher, and people are interacting better.
Question: What do you do to relax and clear your mind?
We all have our favorite to-go relaxation strategies: walking, running, lifting weights.
But what are some other ways you can relax? What are strategies that you use, mom and dad, when you need to unwind after a tough day?
Some questions to ask are:
- Are there certain activities that actually trigger anxiety and stress and make you less relaxed? (Social media for example)
- Are there certain things you do that result in a less relaxed mental state? (Eating bad foods, staying up too late, etc.)
- What could you be doing differently on a day to day basis?
One thing that you can do as a family or individually is create a list of 50 things that make you happy. We made a downloadable on this that you can grab here.
Make sure you’re doing one or two of these per day and that you aim for doing all of them over the course of a month. By doing this, you’ll find that you’re naturally more relaxed because you’re doing things that bring you joy.
Conclusion: Good Conversation Starters for Kids
You’ll notice that all of our questions are open-ended so your kids can’t shrug them off or say yes or no. We also try to provide extra questions to help you probe deeper if the response is “I don’t know.” Our goal is to help your teens open up on the fun stuff so they open up about the hard stuff. The questions, again, are:
- Do you think it’s a problem attaching your sense of self worth to accomplishments or external things? If so, why?
- What fear would you like to conquer?
- We have all felt lonely or rejected at some point. What have you done to overcome this?
- What do you do to relax and clear your mind?
Which one is your favorite? Have you tried this with your own kids? Let us know in the comments below or jump over in our Facebook Group and join the conversation there.