10 Conversations Every Dad Needs to Have with His Teenager

If you have a child entering adolescence, you need to discuss the turmoil and triumphs they will face. You should plan to talk about the following: physical changes, peer pressure, academic expectations, substance abuse, sex, freedom, friends, and their communication with you, etc. You could even plan a weekend away and devote time slots to specific topics.

Make sure this is not presented as a lecture, but an open-ended conversation. Each conversation should be ongoing. Listen as much as you talk. End the weekend with a show of love from you. Give your adolescent a covenant ring and explain that they shouldn’t take it off until they’re ready to replace it with a wedding ring. If you are uncomfortable or feel a little ignorant about some subjects, here are 10 discussion topics for teens for a weekend retreat.

1. Physical and Emotional Changes

Puberty. Their bodies are going through major changes and that is obvious to the eye. However, their minds are going through the same explosive changes and that part is what sometimes gets missed. This subject is a great starting point for the weekend. If you can open them up about this, the rest will flow right behind.

2. Talents

Every child has certain gifts and now is the time to pinpoint and develop them fully.Every child has certain gifts and now is the time to pinpoint and develop them fully. Listen to them as they tell you their dreams and ideas and help guide them in the right direction offering full support.

3. Academic Expectations

Starting right now is when their school work truly matters and will be scrutinized. Discuss openly where your child currently is academically, and then develop a plan to either maintain that or solve problem areas. If need be, hire outside help to get your child up to speed to where they need to be.

4. Drugs and Alcohol 

It is a good bet your child has been offered alcohol of some type, know people who smoke pot, or smoke themselves. Be direct. Tell them the things you knew and saw at the same age and ask them if they are experiencing the same. Go from there as you see fit, but this is a topic not only for the weekend. It must be an ongoing and open-ended discussion throughout their teenage years.

5. Sex

Children are surrounded by sex. We all have our beliefs and moral standards on this topic, but I think we can all agree that none of us want our young teens sexually active. Your job here is to devise a way for them to understand why they should not want it either.

6. Personal Freedom

We can’t shelter and isolate our kids forever. However, with personal freedom comes personal responsibility. Talk about trust and mainly about self-respect. It’s their life after all that can be wrecked. With freedom also comes some of the burden off of you and onto them of responsibility for what they decide to do.

7. Friends and Peer Pressure

Tell those experiences from your past and mistakes you might have made. Ask them to share some of their own they have already experienced. The best and most loyal person in their lives is you, and make sure they understand that profoundly as well.

8. Open Lines of Communication

Communication is imperative to your success as a parent and to your child. Try to come to an agreement to always be able to speak freely and honestly with each other. This can be difficult to achieve but will prevent many potential problems.

9. Appearance

The language they use and the way they look create the image of who they are. You must allow self-expression, but at the same time, a level of self-respect in how they present their overall image.

10. Faith and Spirituality

This is a deeply personal subject to each individual family. Faith provides humility and a reverence for ourselves and humanity. It also provides a sense of love and belonging. This should be the main take away from the entire retreat.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing that is hard for you right now?”