parent talking points

Talking Points

Tips for Talking with Your Son or Daughter

Parents are told by “the experts” that they are the most important influence on their children when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Those “experts” are the children themselves.  Talking to our youth is important, but how can we talk to them when it seems they aren’t interested in anything we have to say?  Sometimes it’s as simple as getting the conversation started.  In the book Conversations on the Go, Mary Alice Ackerman, with Search Institute, offers some tips for making conversation with your child work.

  • Keep it going – Ask follow-up questions to keep your child engaged.
  • It doesn’t have to be “heavy” – Ask their opinion about a recent fad or TV program.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected answers – The object in asking questions is to be engaged, not to prove a point or win an argument.
  • Listening is most important – Don’t judge, offer criticism or advice…just listen.
  • Timing is everything – Student’s days are filled with answering questions; sometimes it’s ok to take a rain check on a question.
  • Ask the same question again at a different time – It’s a great way to watch a young person’s developmental growth.
  • Enjoy the exchange – Kids are wise, we can learn a lot from them!
  • It’s really about making a connection – Conversations are really about creating and maintaining relationships.

For more clever questions and conversations starters, check out Conversations on the Go by Mary Alice Ackerman at