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34 Conversation Starters With Teens You Won't Regret Having

Build a stronger relationship with the teenager in your life with one of these conversation starters with teens!

Relationships
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You know you’ve hit the teenage years when suddenly, things get quiet. Your teenager probably isn’t quiet around their friends, and they certainly have plenty to say if they need a ride or some extra cash, but you might be experiencing a gap as a parent. However, you can unlock access to their thoughts with the right conversation starters that you won’t regret.  

Why try at all? 

Not only do we want to love the teenagers in our lives well, but we want them to feel like we like them too. It’s surprisingly easy for teens to feel like people don’t like them, especially a parent or someone else they look up to.   

There’s a lot we can learn from Jesus as we try to engage teenagers in more meaningful conversations. Jesus did two things very well – he asked questions and he told stories. In fact, very little of his teaching was in lecture form. The Bible records 307 times Jesus asked questions to people around him.  

Look at Luke 10:29-37 as an example. When Jesus was asked a question, he used a story and a follow-up question to make his point!  

Cherie Harder, president at the Trinity Forum suggests the reason why stories and questions are so powerful is that “arguments form our opinions but stories form our love.”  

So, stories and questions can get us there. These are the two most powerful tools that not only will help you become more like Jesus but will also help you unlock the conversations you want to have with the teens in your life.  

34 conversation starters with teens 

Here are some story and conversation starters for inspiration. (Don’t forget to read to the end about some tips about how to communicate!)  

Stories 

Just like Jesus used stories, you can use stories to build a relational foundation with your teen. Stories can help them get to know you, you get to know them, and help them grasp important life principles you want to teach them. 

Use these prompts to share your story with a teenager. Watch the connection build as they laugh, squirm, or just call you weird. Don’t feel limited to this list, though! Any story that illustrates what you are hoping to talk about will help.  

  • Why and how you follow Jesus.   
  • A time you failed or succeeded. 
  • Struggles you have. 
  • How you chose their name. 
  • What your first job was. 
  • A normal day at school when you were a kid. 
  • Major turning points in your life. 
  • How you met their mom/dad or your spouse/significant other. 
  • Moments with your Great Grandparents or Grandparents. 
  • Any memory that brought you joy or helped you learn. 

Questions 

Questions will help teenagers think differently and engage more. The point is just to keep talking with them. Connection doesn’t need a topic; it needs curiosity to keep the conversation going.  

  • What do you think about Jesus?  
  • How can I help you this week?  
  • What traits do all your friends have in common? Do you see yourself that way?  
  • What are some of your favorite music artists/songs right now?  
  • What would be your perfect day?  
  • Is there a club or a hobby you are interested in but scared to start?  
  • What do you find yourself daydreaming about?  
  • Do you think it’s ok to have sex before marriage?  
  • What would be a good second language to learn?  
  • Did you hear about (latest current event)? What do you think about it?  
  • Do the ends justify the means?  
  • Do you ever feel insecure?  If so, what makes you feel that way?  
  • What stresses you out?  
  • What is the most embarrassing thing I do to you?  
  • Would you rather… (fall in gym class or trip in the cafeteria)?   
  • Do you remember (show a picture/video)?  
  • Can we hang out tonight?  What do you want to do?  
  • Did you laugh really hard today? What made you laugh?  
  • Do you like to spend your free time alone or with lots of people?  
  • What is one thing I do as a parent that you wish I would change?   

Go beyond questions 

Questions help demonstrate to your kids that you care by showing interest, but any words have the power to build up your relationship. Think of the things you wish you heard more of when you were their age! Here are some ways to start a conversation or give your teen a much-needed affirmation: 

  • I’m proud of you for… 
  • I love the way you... 
  • One thing you did excellently this week was… 
  • I am praying this for you today… 
  • Show me how you... 
  • You did the right thing when... 

More tips for better conversations with your teen 

Be mindful of these tips when talking with a teenager:  

  • Talk in the car or while doing something. Persistent eye contact can sometimes be too intense for a teenager. Doing something alongside them (like driving or playing ping pong) could really help.  
  • Ask “what” questions, not “why” questions. “Why” questions often make a teenager feel cornered.   
  • Validate whatever it is they’re feeling. Validation keeps the space safe and lets them know you are for them. Use a simple response of, “Yeah, I get that” followed up with a curious question.  
  • Let them talk more than you. If the goal is to have better conversations with your teen, it’s a bad look if you’re the one doing all the talking. While there are times when you as the parent or caregiver should have the floor most, make sure you’re sharing the conversational load here. 
  • Be mindful of boundaries. You don’t have to be their best friend to build a closer relationship. You’re still an authority figure in your teen’s life, and trying to be buddies can blur that important boundary. 
  • Be ready to talk when they are. We often have subtle ways of saying we aren’t interested in having conversations. If their body language or lack of verbal communication indicates they’re not in the mood to talk, honor that. You’d want them to do the same! However, if they come in and sit down, or you notice them using more full sentences (exciting!), pivot toward them instead of away from them. 
  • Position yourself as a coach or example. If you’re a parent, you still have authority and responsibility, but will present it much differently than when your kids are 5 or 10 years old.  

Communicating with the teenagers in your life is ultimately about one thing: showing them that they are loved. A simple conversation shows them that you like having them around and find them to be a delightful presence in your life.  

These conversation starts are just excuses to show them how much you care about them and how highly you think of them. Show them that their life makes a difference in yours as you build a foundation that can last into their adult years.  

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After putting in the work to build a strong relationship with your teen, make sure you keep it going after they graduate and start life on their own!

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LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!


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