For as long as you’ve been alive, you’ve most likely been on the receiving end of lots of questions from your parents. What time are you going to be home? Have you finished your homework? Are you eating enough? How are you holding up after your breakup? When was the last time you cleaned? Did you and your friend make up? It’s basically the nature of the parent-child relationship. But when was the last time that you took a deep conversational dive with your mom or dad and asked them the questions that would let them share more of themselves with you or give you a window into their lives? Even if you’re the number-one kid, it’s probably been a while since you were the one asking meaningful questions of your parents.

Here are eight questions to ask, whether you’re looking to take your relationship with Mom and Dad to a new level or simply want to learn more about the people who raised you. You’ll be amazed by the thoughtful conversations these queries will start — and after you get started, by how much easier you’ll find it to come up with some of your own.

mother and adult daughter having coffee in kitchen

1. “What are you worried about lately?” Growing up, it probably seemed to you like your parents were invincible. They had everything under control! Now that you’re into this whole adulting thing yourself, it should have become abundantly clear that no one is immune to stress or failure — not even your mom and dad. Take the time to understand what challenges they’re facing by simply asking.

2. “What’s the best advice you ever got?” You’ve probably gotten your share of advice from the ‘rents, but do you have any idea what words of wisdom have been most motivating and instructive for them? Add this advice to the wisdom you’ve already banked to be your absolute best self.

3. “What are the best (and worst) decisions you ever made?” There’s so much to be learned from both successes and mistakes, and your parents have been through it all. Set out some snacks, top off their drinks, and ask them to take you on a nostalgic walk through some of their decision-making highs and lows.

4. “What is your favorite thing about yourself?” As humans, we all spend more time than we should being hard on ourselves. Sometimes, all it takes to kick off a little self-praise is having another person open the door for positive introspection. That person could be you! Bonus points if you also use this time to tell your mom or dad what your favorite thing about them is. We bet it’s been a hot minute since they heard it — if they ever have.

5. “What is the hardest thing about being a parent?” Parenting is tough. And your folks were probably so busy doing their best that they never got a chance to really reflect on it. And don’t worry — if you ask them to think back on their parenting challenges, they’re not going to make you feel like it was all your fault. The question in itself will mean so much to them.

6. “How would you spend a whole day without any obligations?” Pretty much anybody would be psyched to brainstorm their answer to this question, and your parents totally deserve a shot at it. Their response may even give you some ideas next time you’re stumped as to how to celebrate a birthday or other family celebration.

7. “What’s one movie you love that we’ve never watched together?” When you were a kid, your parents were probably more likely to follow your lead when it came to movie choices. (Do you think they really wanted to see all of those animated Disney movies three times in the theater?) Since then, it’s been easy to go with the media flow, sitting together to watch whatever happens to be on TV when you’re in the same place. Give your parents the chance to suggest a movie that they really love — then watch it, no arguments.

8. “What’s one thing I can do to make our relationship better?” It’s never too late to take responsibility for an important relationship, and there are few relationships more important than the one you share with your family. Even if you’re their favorite child (duh) or have an objectively great bond with Mom and Dad, there is probably at least one thing you can do better. Prepare yourself for some constructive criticism, ask the question, then follow through.

What kinds of conversations do you hope to have with your parents in the coming months? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)