In the first nine weeks of ninth grade, I dyed my hair, joined the drama club, started listening to Weezer, and had all new friends. I was just trying to fit in at a new school, but I’m sure to my parents, I looked like a stranger. A year later, in another new school, I ran for class office, listened to No Doubt on repeat, and worked on the school morning show. Another morph.
If you’re trying to keep up with a shape-shifting or elusive kid, you have to make the most of the moments you have together. So here are 9 questions to ask your teen that will reveal something about him or her and help you get to know that teenage heart.
1. Who is your hero?
Your teen’s hero might be a celebrity, you, their mom, a person from the Bible, or a friend. Whatever the answer is, follow up with a “why” and you’ll find out something your kid admires or an issue he or she is passionate about.
2. What’s your favorite thing about our family?
You have to ask this one when a teen is in the right mood. But the answer will show you what gives him or her security and a sense of identity as a member of your family unit.
3. What is something most adults don’t realize about teenagers?
Whoa. This is one of the best questions to ask your teen. It will tell you whether he or she feels misunderstood or frustrated. It gives teenagers a language to use that they are comfortable with—angst.
4. What do you think makes someone an adult?Asking your teen what makes someone an adult will show you what he or she considers to be a mark of maturity.
Asking your teen what makes someone an adult will show you what he or she considers to be a mark of maturity.
5. What’s the best and worst thing about having a phone?
Teenagers’ answers for the worst thing might reveal where they feel pressure to fit in or keep up with other kids. And you never know—maybe the best thing is that they can keep in touch with you all day!
6. Who is your favorite singer or band right now and what do you like about them?
Music is an avenue for all of us to express and connect to our emotions. And you never know what your teen will say. It might be Weezer! Take this one step further and ask to listen to one of the artist’s songs. And don’t criticize it. Just listen.
7. What is something you want to learn how to do?
This will reveal interests, passions, or a possible future career.
8. If you had $100,000, what would you do with it?
Don’t worry if the answer is all about material things. You might learn about something new your teen is interested in. But you also might learn about a cause your kid wants to help or a need that he or she connects with.
9. Do you think you want to get married someday?
Teens’ answers here could reveal how they view your relationship with their mother or what they believe about marriage in general.
Sound off: What are some other good questions to ask your teen?