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We often forget that our parents are individuals with their friends, problems, stresses and victories, and not just the people who raised us. When we reduce a person to a single label, it becomes difficult to maintain a fulfilling relationship. So, in order to establish communication with mom and dad, you need to know them as independent individuals.

According to psychotherapist Christiane Avosan, frank conversations help to accept parents with all their shortcomings. After all, no one is perfect.

Christiane Avosan


Once you start to learn more about them, you will realize that your parents are also living people who made mistakes. That both wonderful things and terrible things happened to your parents. When you realize that your parents, like you, have other experiences besides your upbringing, it will allow you to see them as people you could connect with.

Of course, situations are different and some adult behavior, such as physical violence, is absolutely unacceptable. So it’s important to understand that these questions are not meant to work through childhood trauma, but to build understanding between you and your parents. And it is better to sort out traumas with the psychotherapist.

Also, as you get older, your relationship with your mom and dad should change. Having frank conversations on a variety of topics will help overcome the common “I’m an adult, I know better” approach, because you are not asking your parents for help, but trying to learn something new about them. But before you start asking loved ones, you need to clarify a couple of things.

Things to keep in mind when asking questions

First, that this is not an isolated conversation. Psychotherapist Christiane Awosan emphasizes that you need to tune in to a few conversations if you really want to get to know your parents outside the family.

Second, you need to make sure you separate your emotions from your questions. No matter how hard we strive to talk frankly with our parents, the subconscious mind can spur us to touch on topics that are not the most appropriate. For example, about the methods of education that are unpleasant to us. In most cases, such conversations are best avoided.

Finally, it’s important to remember that this is a rather personal conversation, and each of us has our own comfort zone. Perhaps your parents do not want to talk about certain periods of their lives, because it is difficult for them to remember them. Try to formulate questions in such a way that you feel comfortable asking them, and parents can easily and pleasantly answer them. Here are some examples to inspire you.

What to ask your parents

Questions to start a conversation

These topics are unlikely to provoke thoughts about traumatic and unpleasant details from life, so you can start with them. Especially if you feel that your parents are not yet in the mood for something more serious.

  1. Where did you learn to cook (play the guitar, ride a bike)?
  2. What was the world like when you were growing up (-la)?
  3. What did you like to do when you were alone as a child?
  4. Who were your best friends as a child?
  5. What did you enjoy doing with your friends as a child?
  6. What would you call your superpower?
  7. What are your hobbies?
  8. What inspires you?
  9. How do you spend your working day?
  10. What do you like about your job?

Questions related to you

They will help bring the conversation to a higher level and allow your parents to explain what their life was and is. In addition, the answers to these questions will give you ideas of what to do together.

  1. What was your life like when you were my age?
  2. What is the funniest thing that happened to you while you were raising me?
  3. How did you meet your mom (dad) and what attracted you?
  4. How did you decide that you want to have a child?
  5. What do you like to do with me?
  6. What do you like the most about me?
  7. What could you and I do to have fun?
  8. How did you maintain work-life balance at my age?
  9. What is it like to see your children grow up?

Personal questions

If you know that your parents are open to any conversations, even very frank ones, you can immediately start with this group of questions. They will help you get to know your loved ones on a deeper level and understand how their personality, parenting style and outlook on the world was formed.

  1. How did you become the way you are?
  2. How do you rate your upbringing?
  3. What advice did your parents give you in raising me?
  4. What events influenced you when you were a child?
  5. What do you like most about yourself?
  6. What did you miss from your parents?
  7. What kind of relationship did you have with your grandparents?
  8. What was the most painful loss for you?
  9. What situation in your past would you like to change and how?
  10. How did you feel on my birthday?
  11. Would you change anything about the way you raised me?