Do you know what questions to ask your parents that will spark meaningful conversations? I am talking about thought-provoking open-ended questions. Everyone has a story, so there is no doubt that your parents have an interesting story no matter how ‘uncool’ you may think your folks are.
It can be hard to strike up deep conversations with close relatives and even our spouses. Often we go through our lives so busy that we forget to talk to our own parents about their own journeys. Small talk takes over and we are left with dull conversations and a foggy memory of what we think we remembered about them.
When I was a child, my history teacher made us interview a grandparent about their childhood. At the time I thought it was the biggest waste of my time, but looking back it was the best gift my teacher could ever give me. At the end of our conversation, I had a binder full of answers to meaningful questions. I got to really know him and the stories he told about living through The Great Depression are still fresh in my mind.
My other grandpa told tall tales about his life, but I regret that I never wrote them down because at the time it was not a school assignment and the thought never crossed my mind. What I would do today is to have a written document with answers to the questions below from both of these strong men.
Simple Questions to Ask Your Parents
The bad news is that both my grandfathers have passed now. Imagine if YouTube was around back then and I filmed their answers? That would have been a gem to have!
The good news is that my parents are still alive and well. Some of these questions I can almost predict their answers from memory, but I have no clue what they would say. It is my goal to sit down with them along with my sister who is an amazing videographer and ask these questions.
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Don’t feel confident with a camera? Don’t stress because even an iPhone will do the trick. As a matter of fact, my current iPhone takes amazing videos.
Get out your phone or pad of paper and pen and have fun with the interview! There are no wrong answers. If your grandparents are still on this Earth, definitely include them in the fun. You will not regret it.
Questions to Ask Your Parents Right Now
When it comes to gathering information and memories from your parents, it’s important to ask questions that will help you understand their experiences, values, and personal history. Here are a few questions you might consider asking:
- How did you meet Mom/Dad?
- What’s the hardest thing about raising children?
- Tell me about the day I was born.
- What did you want to be when you were growing up?
- If you could change one thing about your life what would it be and why?
- What is one thing you know to be true?
- What were you going to name me if I was the opposite sex?
- Who was your first girlfriend/boyfriend?
- What was your favorite band growing up?
- What was your first car?
- What’s your fondest memory of your first car?
- What is your hope for your children/grandchildren?
- Is becoming a grandparent different than becoming a parent?
- What’s your best advice when buying a new home?
- Do you believe in love at first sight?
- Tell me about your grandparents.
- What is your favorite movie?
- Did you play any sports growing up or participate in any extra-curricular activities?
- Where have you traveled the furthest?
- What are your fears?
- What do you think the greatest invention has been during your lifetime?
- Did you ever get arrested? If not, what did you do that you should have been arrested for?
- How much money does a person need to love life?
- What is your most embarrassing moment?
- What was the best gift I ever gave you?
- How would others describe you in middle school, high school, and/or college?
- How many times were you in love?
- Were your parents strict? Was your Mom or Dad the strictest?
- What are the 3 happiest times in your life?
- If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
- Do you think money can buy happiness?
- What did I do as a child that frustrated you and what did I do that you loved?
- What is your dream job?
- If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
- What’s the hardest/easiest thing about being an adult?
- If your life was a reality show, what would it be called?
- Describe a moment in American history that you will never forget.
- What do you like/dislike about your generation?
- What is your wish for your children/grandchildren?
- Who is someone you admire? Why?
What questions should I ask my parents before it’s too late?
Bonus questions! When it comes to asking tough questions, it’s important to approach the conversation with sensitivity and respect for your parents’ feelings. Here are some tough questions you could consider asking if you feel comfortable doing so:
- What do you regret most about your life?
- Can you share a time when you made a mistake and what you learned from it?
- Are there any dreams or goals you had in your younger years that you were unable to achieve? How do you feel about them now?
- Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never got the chance? What prevented you from pursuing it?
- What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a parent?
- Have you experienced any significant losses or bereavement in your life? How did you cope with them?
- Is there someone you miss who is no longer with us? Can you share a memory or story about them?
- Can you tell me about some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your life and how you overcame them?
- Are there any difficult moments or hardships that have shaped who you are today?
- What do you wish you would’ve asked your own parents?
Remember, everyone’s life story is unique, and these questions can serve as a starting point for deeper conversations with your parents. Take the opportunity to listen actively and cherish the time you have together.
Download questions for parents’ journal printable now
I challenge you to find the time to create and ask questions to ask your parents right now before it’s too late. It’s the best gift you can give yourself and what a great opportunity to get to REALLY know your parents. It’s on my to-do list and something I am going to force them to do soon.
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What do you think of the list of questions to ask your parents? Did I leave any questions off that you are curious to know about your parents?
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