Ever realize you know more about your favorite TV characters than your own parents?
You’re not alone.
Life’s short and unpredictable, so why not seize the moment to really get to know the people who raised you?
I’ve put together 10 must-ask questions to help you dig deeper and uncover those family stories and values that often go unspoken.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in:
1) What was your childhood like?
Ever stop to think that your parents were once kids, too?
I get that it’s hard to imagine. But asking about their childhood opens the door to a whole other world.
You get a peek into what life was like for them—before you, before adult responsibilities.
Maybe they had a tough upbringing or maybe they had adventures they’ve never shared.
This question cuts through the surface and gets you right to the heart of who they are. Simple, but incredibly revealing. So go ahead, ask.
You’ll likely hear stories and lessons that might just put your own life into perspective.
2) How did you meet each other (or my other parent)?
It might be weird to imagine your parents all lovey-dovey – now you see them dealing with everyday stressors like work, raising kids, and basically, just being “Mom” and “Dad”.
But once upon a time, they were caught up in the excitement of love. Your very existence came through their love story taking place.
When I asked my parents this question, I discovered details I’d never heard before—small moments and grand gestures that transformed them from strangers to life partners.
You realize they had their own hopes, butterflies, and awkward first dates, just like any of us do. For sure you’ll see your parents in a different light – one of youth and love.
3) What were the most important lessons your parents taught you?
Ever wondered why your parents raised you the way they did?
Well, this question takes you straight to the source.
When I asked my parents about the life lessons they got from their own folks, I suddenly saw the bigger picture.
I understood the values that have been passed down through generations, shaping not just my parents but also my own upbringing.
Essentially, this question is like hitting the “understand” button on years of family habits and unspoken rules.
You get to see the philosophies and morals that influenced them as kids and understand how that trickled down to you.
And quite often, if you think you had a strict upbringing, this question will reveal that your parents had it much harder.
4) Is there medical history I should be aware of?
I can’t stress this one enough. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power.
And I get it, it may not be the most fun topic at the dinner table, but trust me, it’s crucial.
Think about it this way:
You’re not just collecting facts; you’re gathering intel that could help you make informed decisions about your own health in the future.
Whether it’s a history of heart issues, certain types of cancer, or even less serious conditions, knowing these things can guide your own medical choices and lifestyle.
So take a minute to ask this question; it’s not just practical but potentially life-saving.
And remember – don’t leave it for “someday”—that’s a day that might never come. Make it a point to know now, so you can be prepared for whatever comes your way.
5) What do you wish you had done differently in life?
Let’s face it, we all have those “what if” moments where we ponder the roads not taken.
When I asked my mom this question, she opened up about how she’d always wanted to go to college but never had the chance.
And that wasn’t just an “aw, shucks” story.
It was a profound look into the sacrifices and choices she made, some of which influenced how she raised me, pushing for educational opportunities she never had.
By asking your parents what they wish they’d done differently, you’re not just playing armchair psychologist.
You’re getting a glimpse into their vulnerabilities, their regrets, and most importantly, the wisdom they’ve gained from their lived experiences.
6) What were the happiest moments in your life?
This is one of my favorite questions. I loved seeing the look on my parent’s faces when they thought back to their happiest memories.
My mom’s favorite memory was when we brought my little brother home from the hospital, and we all sat around jokingly arguing over what name to give him.
My dad’s was moving to the UK and finally going for all the opportunities he’d craved as a child.
You see, when you ask this question, you’re doing more than just reminiscing.
You’re getting to see what truly matters to them, what milestones or experiences filled them with joy and satisfaction.
Is it career achievements? Family milestones? Unexpected surprises?
This is your chance to know what really makes them happy.
7) What were your hobbies or passions?
Ever thought about what your parents were into before they were, well, parents?
The truth is, asking about their hobbies or passions can be incredibly revealing.
You get to discover the activities that once filled their time before they got bogged down with family and work.
Not only will you get to know them better, but you might also find shared interests that can bring you closer than ever before.
8) Is there anything you’ve always wanted to tell me but haven’t?
This is the wildcard question, and I’ll be honest, you might need a stiff drink or a chair to sit on for the answer.
After all, it’s the kind of question that opens the door for raw honesty and perhaps even a few family secrets.
It’s your opportunity to offer a safe space for sharing, a moment for your parents to express what might have been held back for years, maybe even decades.
So go ahead and ask it, but be prepared for whatever comes.
The answer could be lighthearted, or it could be deep and emotional. Either way, it’s an invitation for open dialogue and, often, a chance to deepen your relationship in a way you never expected.
9) How would you like to be remembered?
This question is a big one and can be really emotional, so be gentle when you ask it.
When I asked my parents, the room got quiet. It makes sense; this question gets you thinking about what really matters in life.
So why ask it?
Well, it helps you know what’s most important to your parents, what they’re most proud of, and how they hope to be thought of when they’re not around anymore.
It can be a touching moment that helps you understand them better and maybe even helps you know how to make them feel valued now.
So when it feels right, go ahead and ask. You might learn something special.
10) Do you have any regrets about how you raised us?
This one’s a loaded question and could stir up some strong feelings, so be sure you’re ready for an honest conversation.
Asking your parents if they have any regrets about raising you might seem risky, but it can open the door for some deep talks.
Ultimately, it gives your parents a chance to share things they wish they’d done differently, and maybe even explain why they made certain choices.
And for you, it’s an opportunity to better understand your upbringing and maybe even let go of some old frustrations.
So, be prepared for some surprises, but remember, this is a two-way street—it’s not just about them sharing their regrets, but also about you listening without judgment.
This could be the question that brings some hidden truths into the open, and maybe even lets you both forgive and move forward.