afraid to ask questions

10 Questions Your Son’s Afraid to Ask You

My youngest son is always asking questions about what I’m working on, how something works, what’s going on in the world. He’s not the only curious child. In fact, research suggests that kids can ask up to 400 questions per day! But as sons get older, it seems like they ask fewer questions.

Most sons are afraid to ask questions that are embarrassing or deeply personal. But we want to be able to give them those answers before they seek answers from peers or social media influencers. Here are 10 questions your son’s afraid to ask you.

1. What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Most dads don’t like to advertise their failures and shortcomings, but our sons need to hear them.

Most dads don’t like to advertise their failures and shortcomings, but our sons need to hear them. Hearing about a moment when we failed will help them see past their own screw-ups. It can also leave an opening for them to come to us when they are in a bad spot.

2. What do you think about underage drinking and drugs?

While opportunities for underage drinking and drug use aren’t new, they represent an undiscovered world for our sons. They want to hear (but might be afraid to ask for) our opinions, our experiences, and our guidance as they navigate drugs and alcohol for themselves.

3. How far is too far with a girl?

Instilling the virtue of chastity goes far beyond teaching our kids not to have sex before marriage. We need to teach them more than limits and boundaries. Our sons need to hear from us that sex is a way to express your marriage vows with your body and that it both binds you to someone else and creates life. Knowing this will teach them that loving someone demands self-control and sacrifice.

4. Why don’t you want me to look at pornography?

Despite our best efforts, our sons are almost certainly going to come across pornography whether on their devices, in shows they watch, or even just on billboards or magazine covers. We need to be ready to help them understand how pornography harms them in ways they’ve never considered.

5. Is masturbation OK?

As boys grow into men, raging hormones and curiosity can lead them to explore themselves. Sons need their dads to tell them it’s normal to be tempted to masturbate, and understandable, but that at the same time, they should see this as an opportunity to learn discipline and self-control.

6. Is it normal for me to think about bad things?

If we hooked your mind up to a printer and published everything you thought of in a day, chances are that some of it would be awkward or embarrassing. Our sons face the same battle. We need to help them understand that having the thought isn’t the issue—dwelling or acting on it is.

7. Why do you love me?

Sons often battle with insecurity, wondering whether they “have what it takes.” Among a dad’s many responsibilities is helping our sons to answer that question. One simple way we can do this is to tell our sons the things we love most about them, regardless of whether they ask.

8. Are you and mom going to split up?

Given that they probably know someone whose parents are separated or divorced, our sons may be afraid to ask questions about our marriages. They may worry that if their parents can stop loving each other, it may mean we would stop loving them as well. No matter what is going on in your marriage, your son needs to know that you care for him and you’re both going to be there for him, no matter what happens.

9. Why aren’t you and my mom a couple?

Younger kids are very satisfied by quick black and white answers. But as kids get older, they need a little more information. If you’re a single dad, whatever the answer is, share it in an age-appropriate way and without bad-mouthing your son’s mother. In the process, make sure your son knows he is an irreplaceable gift both his parents are grateful for.

10. Why do you believe in God?

At some point, most kids are going to question God’s existence. As dads, we need to share the reason for our hope with our kids. We also need to reassure them that questioning God and other matters of faith is normal. God isn’t fragile—he can take whatever questions or complaints our sons might have.

Sound off: Are there other questions sons might be afraid to ask?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the hardest question for me that you can think of?”