Getting Teenagers Talking

Let’s face it. It’s not always easy to engage a teenager in meaningful conversation. If you’re a parent of a teen, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

“How was your day?”

“Fine.”

“How was school?”

“Same as always.”

Awkward silence.

This seems a little counter-intuitive. Teenagers are know-it-alls who have opinions about everything. How come it’s so hard to get them to engage in a meaningful dialogue?

Probably because we are talking to them about the wrong thing.

Think about it; what teenager wants to talk about their homework or their plans for cleaning their room? Often, when our teens are silent, we’re talking with them about the wrong stuff!

When I engage teens I utilize two simple tools: discover and provoke.

Discover
A good lawyer or a good cop knows how to draw out testimony from a person by asking good questions. If parents put a little effort into their questioning they would be amazed at what they discover. Forget the axiomatic “how was your day?” Ask something a little more creative.

“If you could text anyone in the world and you know they’d text you back… who would you text?”

“What would you text them?”

“What would you hope they’d reply?”

That line of questioning will actually tell you a lot about your kid. Or how about:

“What is your ‘go to’ song you play whenever you’re feeling sad?”

“How does this song make you feel?”

“If this song were in a playlist, what would you call it?”

What would you discover if you asked your teens these kinds of questions?

CLICK HERE for the next post from Jonathan on how to “provoke” teenagers in meaningful conversation.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, YOU’LL LOVE MANY OF JONATHAN’S DISCUSSION-PROVOKING RESOURCES, LIKE HIS PARENTING BOOKS, OR HIS BRAND NEW BLOG, “THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE WALKING DEAD”


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