I love lists. They provide a simple structure to help us stay organized. They serve as a record of our accomplishments that can spark motivation and a sense of achievement. They minimize anxiety by calming the mental chaos that occurs when we try to keep our ‘to-dos’ swirling in our minds. Lists are also a great tool for prioritizing and breaking down big tasks into smaller ones. In the next few blogs, I will be sharing a few of my favorite lists for parents, teens, and college students. They will encourage action and positive change. This week’s list- Ten Ways to Have a Meaningful Conversation with Your Teen or Young Adult Daughter.
Getting your teen or college-age daughter to open up can be one of the biggest challenges.
Teens notoriously don’t want to share with their parents because they believe their parents “just don’t understand.” College students like to think they can figure things out for themselves, so they will often hold back from sharing with their parents. If you find your questions only lead to one-word answers, it’s time for a new approach. Use this list of questions to spark a meaningful conversation.
- Instead of, How was your day? Ask, Would you like to tell me about your day?
- Instead of, Why aren’t you getting ___ done? Ask, What is stopping you from doing ____? The answer to this question may reveal what support your daughter needs.
- Instead of, Why do you feel that way? Ask, What triggered you to feel _____? Feelings are hard to explain. Shifting to a what question will focus on the event that triggered a feeling and allow you to explore the best next steps with your teen.
- Instead of, You should/need to do ________, Ask, What choices do you have?
- Instead of asking a ton of questions, try, Tell me more about _____. I’m interested in understanding your point of view.
- To spark a conversation about the future- What’s coming up that you are most excited about?
- To spark a reflective conversation- What do you really enjoy about _____?
- To spark a conversation about values- What do you value most about _____?
- To spark a conversation about support- What kind of support do you really value from me, your friends, your teachers, etc.?
- To show your teen you value his/her opinion- What is most important to you about ______?
In order for these questions to spark a meaningful conversation, remember to listen more than you talk.
More often than not, teens and young adults just want you to listen with an open heart and open mind. Always ask if your daughter would like your feedback, instead of assuming she wants or needs your advice or insight. No matter what she shares, validate her feelings and experience. Simply saying, That makes sense or I understand why you feel that way, goes a long way in showing you understand. Whenever you find yourself in a conversation with your teen or college-age daughter, be fully present, and give her your full attention.
Download your meaningful Conversation Starters here.