Time with teens can be both challenging and exciting so we want to help you out this week with ten conversation starters. Please stay connected to your teenage grandchildren, grandparents! We don’t have to assume the teens in our lives will automatically disconnect from us when they become young adults. Sure, they’ll have other interests and friends, but we can stay relevant if we ease into the adult relationship we want to build with them with good old-fashioned conversation.
Remember, conversing involves listening part of the time! The more you hear of their heart and engage in ways they know you’re listening to their interests and concerns, the deeper your relationship will become.
10 Conversation Starters
Questions to get a conversation rolling with your teenage grand:
- What was the best thing you did last week? The answer to this may open the door to a conversation about their latest interests, hopes, and dreams. What if they respond, “Nothing”? Now’s the time to gently probe and help. Maybe ask what the worst thing that happened was and explore that answer.
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Here you’ll discover if you have a homebody grand or an adventurer. Follow up to learn why they made that choice.
- Here’s something I want to share with you….Whether you share a story or a memento, this is a conversation starter for those perfect moments when a connection has been made and you can touch their hearts with some special bit of family history, wisdom, or encouragement.
- If you were stranded on a deserted island and had only three things with you, what would they be? With this question, you’ll get a good idea of how grounded your grand is, or is not. If they want to take their Xbox to an island without electricity, it’s time to teach some practical lessons on how things work in the real world.
- If you could start a business today, what would it be? Do you have a budding entrepreneur in your family? The answers to this question might surprise and delight you. Some young businesspeople today are amazingly creative. Since GPAZ is a part of the digital business world, I have the opportunity to be exposed to how innovative some of our younger generations truly are. Encourage your young entrepreneurs to think outside the box. If you have the resources to do so, consider helping them with a start-up. You never know what might blossom.
- What is your favorite memory of us? The answers to this question will probably melt your heart. Pay attention because you may learn something that can be a guideline for future time spent together.
- Who is your favorite band? Or type of music? Music preferences can be a window into someone’s personality and soul. Teens may listen to what is popular in their current culture but have a secret preference for something else. Have them play you some of their favorite tunes and see if it resonates with you. A teen will appreciate that you showed interest in their interests.
- What is your favorite TV show? This is similar to the music question. TV shows can be very influential in young minds. Knowing what they are watching is good for understanding how they are developing, and possibly pinpointing areas of concern. If shows are too “dark,” consider asking some questions about why the show appeals to them. Teen suicide rates are escalating at present. Don’t miss signs of problems in a young one you love.
- If you and I could spend a couple of days together going somewhere within a 200-mile radius of home, where would it be? When you ask this, have a map and computer handy to explore options. Maybe you can plan an outing with your teen?
- What do you think about this article/story? One of the classic means of teaching young family members about the world and how it worked was dinner table conversation about current events. Rekindle this with your teen and create some opportunities to talk about important issues with them. You may encounter differences of opinion, but let that become an opportunity to hear, teach, and find common ground. You’ll also be able to bring your past experiences, historical events, and even family values into the conversation.
Communicating with teens can be fun. If you haven’t made the shift into more adult conversation with your teen Grands, do it now. Start as early as you can and help them mature into adult interaction with someone they can trust. Make the effort and you will remain a friend to them for life. Let us know in the comments which of these conversation starters is your favorite!