15 Conversation Starters To Help You Connect With Your Son

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father talk to son

Our young men are in trouble. We have to start talking about the real stuff, the stuff that is tearing them apart, and providing answers from our experience in a format of discussion and compassion rather than speeches.

Conversations are composed of give-and-take. Engagement begins with connection. Below are some ideas about how to make that initial connection with a young man you want to help.

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Here are 15 questions to help you start an important conversation with your son and other men in need

One way to begin a meaningful, helpful conversation is to ask the right question or questions. Here are some to get you started.

1. What is important to you?

When do you feel most alive?

2. How do you feel in general?

Are you happy, sad, or angry? Why do you think?

3. What men do you look up to?


4. Have you ever tried being of service to someone else who needs your help?

How did that make you feel?

5. Have you ever thought about a power great than you?

What does that look like in your mind? Is it a force for good or evil? Do you pray or meditate? What’s that been like?

6. Have you ever tried to listen to someone else who is different from you? Did you learn something from that conversation?

Were you surprised by what they said?

7. How do you feel about being a man?

Do you feel like you have a male mentor you can look up to and ask questions? Do you feel OK being a strong man?

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8. How do you treat the women in your life?

Are you honest with them, particularly around sex? Do you feel like you put the interests of the women in your life ahead of your own? Can you listen to the women in your life with openness and curiosity?

9. What happens when you disagree with someone?

Can you express yourself constructively? Do you ever resort to rage or violence?

10. Are there examples in your life where you have been able to lead by example?

Do you think it is important to try to cultivate gratitude when you are around your friends?

11. In what ways do you try to improve yourself?

What are your goals? Are you a good learner?

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12. What do you think about your relationship with alcohol, drugs, technology, gambling, and porn?

Are any of these causing you suffering or reducing your capacity for joy? Do you feel like you can ask for help if you need it? Are you honest about these topics?

13. How do you take care of your body physically?

Do you work out? How is your diet? Do you feel strong and healthy?

14. When in the last week did you have the most fun?

Can you do that more?

15. How can I support you better?

I'm here to help when you need me.

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Tom Matlack is on a mission to help men. His weekly speakers series and writing on Substack help men connect with one another and their own emotional well-being. He adores his wife of 20 years and his three children.

This article was originally published at Substack. Reprinted with permission from the author.