I’m in an interesting season of motherhood when it comes to interacting with my girls. My oldest daughter is swiftly encroaching on her sixteen birthday, the middle is holding her own at 13, and the littlest will be 10 before I blink.
How did my sweet little girls, prancing around in dresses, become young women, standing eye to eye with me? Each one is developing at breakneck speed, and not just in terms of height. It is like I can see their minds, hearts, and souls transforming with every experience, opportunity, and pressure put upon them. I want to freeze time and soak in the moment more than ever before. My season of motherhood is closer to the finish line than the start and yet I don’t feel like I’ve been running the race quite long enough, which is not to say that I don’t feel worn down at times. I’m just keenly aware that there is still so much to cherish about this season— and this from a woman who has never consider herself the motherly type. So, as I look ahead, I am all the more passionate about making the most of the days we have left together (Ephesians 5:16).
I don’t want to put my girls on hold while I finish one more project or explore a passion that might forsake precious time together.
There will be time for that, once they are grown and gone.
Now, is the time in which I want to dig into their souls, uncover their secret thoughts, and steal opportunities to influence their heart for the Lord. I want to hear beyond their words and engage their minds in a way that might inspire them to think intentionally and act biblically in a world that will seek to shut them down. Oh my, how this desire takes such an investment of time. We both know that we can’t necessarily schedule heart-to-heart connection. And yet, when they are ready to talk, I’m usually ready to go to sleep. I’m sure you know what I mean!
So, if we want meaningful connections with our growing girls, we’ve got to take decided action in order to make it happen.
That will look different for each one of us mommas. For me, it has looked like clearing off my evening commitments as much as possible, so that when they are ready to chat, I’m at least physically and hopefully mentally available. And I’ve also realized I have to be prepared with conversation starters, because as chatty as my girls may be, they still want to be pursued with questions demonstrating concern, while not coming across in an interrogating sort of way. I actually learned this lesson from our middle girl, who tends to be the quietest and most sensitive in the bunch, as she waits to be asked about her life because she “doesn’t want to make it all about me.”
Thankfully, as a life coach and long-time mentor, I’ve been able to come up with an arsenal of questions that usually bring about a pretty dynamic conversation. I hope this list helps you connect with your teen girls (and guys), too.
Conversation Starters for Connecting with Your Tweens & Teens
- What was the highlight of your day?
- What was the worst part of your day?
- If you could have a “re-do” on this day, what would it be?
- So what should I know about your grades as of late?
- Is there an area of your school work that you feel like you need extra help on?
- What’s the toughest stuff you’re dealing with right now?
- How’s the latest drama at school?
- How do you think “so and so” is really doing?
- What are you looking forward to this week?
- If you could take one responsibility off your plate for the next week, what would it be?
- How are you feeling about your sports/hobbies/commitments?
- What would you like your weekend/break/vacation to look like?
- How are you feeling about “that” friendship/relationships?
- What boundaries do you think you need to work on with “that” friendship/relationship?
- How do you think things are going with your sister/brother/father?
- Is there something I can do to help you feel more supported?
- Is there anything I’m doing that’s really frustrating you lately?
- Any thoughts about what you want to put your time to next summer/fall?
Learning how to come along side our tweens and teens is definitely an art form. Having some non-threatening, heart-exposing questions tucked into our mothering toolbox is just one way to cultivate that connection and grow a lasting, trusting relationship with our girls.