The Car Is A Perfect Place For Tough Topics With Kids

Any parent knows that its hard to bring up the tough topics with kids, especially as they get older.  Teenagers can feel ambushed when we sit down and try to have an earnest conversation about current issues.  That is why starting a dialogue in the car can make things easier.

In our modern world there are many tough topics to face with our kids and many that we didn’t have at their age.  30 years ago there were no mobile phones – and certainly no such thing as a smart phone.  We had no computers, or if the home did have one it was shared by all the members with only dial-up connections.

Drugs back then consisted of pot and LSD and weren’t that readily available, at least not to me!  We hadn’t heard of ADD, ADHD or autism and an eating disorder was what you got when you ordered something and they got it wrong.

Kids these days have to deal with all of this plus cyber-bullying, prescription medication over-use, alcohol abuse and families tearing apart.  Add to this the challenges brought on this year with COVID-19 and it’s easy to see how teens can get overwhelmed.



Bring Up Tough Topics With Your Kids In The Car

To start these conversations make sure that it is just you and your child alone in the car.  They will most likely not open up with other family members listening in.

Try to strike up a general chat first before getting into any tough topics with kids.  We all know that teenagers communicate with grunts or mono-syllable answers so ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer.  Try things like:

“What happened at school today?”

“Have you been watching anything good on Netflix lately?”

“What sports do you think you will play this year?”

Once you have been able to engage them in a conversation you can ask questions that lead to some of the tough topics with kids.  These may include teenage drinking, drug use, sexual activities or even social media issues and cyber-bullying.

tough topics talk about in the car

How Do I Develop Trust With My Teen?

The idea of bringing this up in the car is one of the easiest parenting strategies we know.  Think about it, your eyes are fixed on the road ahead.  Your teen can talk openly about embarrassing, scary or confusing topics without seeing any of your emotions.  By not seeing your eyes or facial expressions directly they miss the fleeting signs of disappointment, anger or hurt.

talk about tough topics in the car

Understand, this may not happen on the first trip and indeed every car ride.  You may need to spend the early solo car trips with your teen just learning how to communicate easily.  There is a trust that needs to be developed before you can tackle the tough topics with kids in the car.

Also know that these conversations are not about having the right answer.  Sometimes that is an impossible task as there may not be an answer or something you could say that would help!  In this case, it is vital to just listen and let them off-load.  If your child can learn that they may open up to you without consequences you will have trust.  Therefore, when you need to handle these tough topics with kids it will be much easier for you both.


Bringing up these tough topics with kids in the car will reap you and your teenager many rewards.

If you follow the above tips in our article you will enjoy a new level of communication with your family.  Not only that, your teenager will know that they have a safe place to get things off their chest and get advice.

The car is a great place to have tough conversations because it’s distraction free and neither of you can go anywhere.  Plus, being in the car takes away pressure and instant reaction which makes it easier for kids to talk.

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