Here’s a list of 50 thought-provoking questions to ask teens that won’t actually annoy them.
Do you feel like your teen or pre-teen is talking to you less and less?
Do you feel like they rush away from the dinner table the second they’re done eating?
We all know that communicating with our kids is important. It’s been proven that kids who spend time talking to their parents over the dinner table are more likely to perform well in school and less likely to abuse alcohol or do drugs.
Plus, as parents, we just WANT our kids to feel like they can come to us and have an open, honest conversation.
Unfortunately, when our kids get home from school or when we sit down as a family around the dinner table, it’s easy to fall back on the same questions (the ones your parents probably asked YOU as a kid).
“How was school?”
“How was your day”
And those questions are important, because we DO want to know about our kids’ days. We want to know how school is going for them.
But the reality is that questions like these are almost guaranteed to get the same one-word response: “fine.”
As Dr. Lisa Damour has explained to us, for kids, the school day is long and boring and when they get home from school, they just want to put it in their rear-view mirror (and keep it there).
That’s why it’s so important for parents to be asking their kids the RIGHT questions.
Dr. Damour explains, “I think there are really some very smart things that I’ve picked up along the way from other people, like saying ‘What was the high point and the low point of the day,’ or ‘what would you like to do this weekend’ or ‘did anything really funny happen today’ or things like that, that are much more specific, less broad than ‘how was school.’”
“I also think that we have to be ready to have conversations when our kids want to have conversations. I think sometimes we feel like, okay we are at the dinner table, this is when the conversation is going to happen. But they may be tired and hungry and just want to eat and be quiet.”
“I think sometimes it happens around bedtime, or later on in the evening. Maybe when we’re settling in to do a little bit more work as the end of the day, they come by and they want to talk about something that happened at school, and we’ve sort of switched out of that mode of being you know ready to talk. I think we have to be ready to meet them where they are and when they’re ready to talk.”
As Dr. Damour explains, specific, open-ended questions are going to get you the best response.
But we want to make it easy for you to get your kids to talk. That’s why we compiled this list of 50 questions to ask your kids, other than “how was school?”
50 Thought-Provoking Questions to Ask Your Teens
- Which would you rather have: $1,000,000 today or 1 cent doubled every day for 30 days? (this teaches your kids about compound interest)
- Would you rather be the boss or employee and what would make you better at one position versus the other?
- If you could have only one superpower, what would it be?
- Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
- If you could give every person a gift in the world, but if would have to be the same gift, what would that gift be?
- Imagine you’re the President and you need to have 3 people to assist you. Who would you pick and why?
- If you could set one rule for the family that we all have to follow, what would it be?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- When do you feel a child or teen becomes an adult?
- What have you learned in life that you feel will be the most useful?
- Describe what a perfect day would be from the moment you wake until bed.
- If you could change anything in the world, what 3 things would it be and why?
- If you could eat dinner with 3 people you don’t know, who would it be and where would you go?
- Do you think it’s better to have one great skill you’re an A+ at or many skills you’re a C at and why?
- What’s the best invention you’ve seen most recently and what do you like about it?
- What makes our family amazing that you feel is unique about us?
- What are 3 things are you grateful for in your life and why?
- What are 3 really small victories that you’ve had the last few days that you’re proud of?
- What’s a hobby that you don’t currently do that you’d love to learn? What’s holding you back from starting?
- What do you feel are the most important things to living a great life?
- If we lost everything we owned today but could keep 3 things, what would you pick and why?
- Imagine you’re the teacher tomorrow at school. What are 3 things you’d teach that you think would help make school more useful for one’s future?
- When someone is feeling stressed, what are 3 suggestions you’d share with them on how to feel less stressed?
- What do you feel is the hardest job in the world and why?
- When you wake up each morning, if you could think of 3 things that would make you truly happy, what are they and why?
- How would you explain the word love to someone without using the word “love”?
- Do you believe money can or can’t buy happiness?
- Think of the worst thing that’s happened to you… what did you learn from it?
- Of all the things you’re learning, what do you think will be most useful as an adult?
- If you could travel back in time 3 years, what advice would you give yourself?
- Which of your friends do you think I would or do like the most? Why?
- If you could grow up to be famous, what would you be famous for?
- How would you change the world if you could?
- How can you help someone today?
- If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
- If you had enough money that you never had to work, what would you do with your time?
- Have you passed up on any chances that you now regret? What were they?
- If you were told you would live forever, what would you change about your life?
- What are you most afraid of?
- What do you think is keeping you from complete happiness?
- What’s your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
- What is the achievement you’re most proud of and why?
- What’s one thing you did in the last 24 hours to make someone’s life better?
- Where in the world would you most like to live?
- What’s had the greatest impact on your life, good or bad, and why?
- What do you do when you can’t sleep at night?
- If we experience our greatest moments of growth and learning from failure, why are we so afraid to fail?
- What product would you stockpile if you found out it wasn’t going to be sold anymore?
- Do you have any bad habits you wish you could break? What are they?
- If you had no physical, financial or other obstacles, what skill would you like to have?
Start Having Powerful, Meaningful Conversations with Your Teens
Conversation between parents and kids has proven to have a lifelong impact.
Use these questions to get your kids to think critically, teach a growth mindset and strengthen the relationship you have with them.
Whether it’s over the dinner table or in the car, start asking your kids thought-provoking questions that will result in a meaningful conversation.