How to talk more than "small talk" with my parents?

Whenever I ring my parents or vice versa it seems to me like they always talk what is perceived to me as “small talk”.

Eg:they will talk about the weather today and what had I eaten etc.

To me,small talk is fine when you are talking to people like a shop assistant but I don’t want to be doing it with my own parents.

For example,literally every time I speak to them they ask me whether I had eaten ( lunch or dinner or whatever) and what I had eaten and then proceed to tell me what they had eaten.
To be honest,I perceive this as mundane and I couldn’t care less what people are eating for dinner or whatever.

I’m starting to get a “complex” wondering if they find me so boring and so uncomfortable to speak with that they have to resort to talking about such superficial things:(

Can anyone provide any insight or advice please?

Thankyou Elena

Maybe they don’t know what would interest you. Or perhaps they don’t want to argue, so stay away from controversial topics.
I can’t talk to my kids about politics, because we just can’t agree,

You might try talking to them about something that’s important to you, but not controversial, for starters. For example, a project you’re working on, or changes in your exercise routine, or meeting someone interesting.
Ask them what they’re doing for fun these days.
It’s hard to know what to suggest when we don’t know your respective ages. For example, if they’re in their 50s, you might talk about different things than if they’re in their 80s.(Have you filled out a Power of Attorney in case of need?)
I told my son I bought a niche in a columbarium, & we discussed cremation. He found it uncomfortable, and we laughed about it.
God bless.


Have you seen such and such movie mom? What about a tv show? Sports?

There has to be SOMETHING you can talk about.

Just ask about how they are feeling? How was your last check-up?

I would give anything to be able to talk to either of my parents again.
You’re blessed.

Perhaps that is why your parents wish to engage in small talk. Perhaps in your “background” it is not the norm for parents to engage in such deep topics. Do you know what sorts of things they discuss with their friends? What kinds of discussions do you have with your own acquaintances?

My guess is that you’d like to discuss what interests you with your parents. Perhaps you need to consider what they are interested in.

It’s actually fairly normal for families to stick to small talk if they do not share the same day-to-day life events and/or political/religious/career/educational experiences. Family phone conversations tend to be about where Uncle John went on his vacation and where young cousin Maria is going to school.

You may also be missing the opportunities found in small talk. A conversation about the weather can be a launching point into a discussion on the environment, travel, landscaping, etc.

My conversations with my mother have no depth. They are awkward and forced. Because we do not share much in common. I understand where you are coming from. Perhaps it just has to be that way.

I have substantial talks with my own children–about economics and politics and you name it–but most of our conversations are not that way. Most of my conversation with other scientists are not that way. Sometimes, we talked about science, but a lot of the time, we talked about the weather, sports teams, and what sorts of things we’d been cooking for dinner.

If your mom is the primary cook, the question of what to cook for dinner is not a trivial one. If she is a gardener or if driving conditions can sometimes be bad this time of year, the topic of the weather is not a trivial one. That’s talking about everyday life. Maybe it is mundane, yes, but everyday life is mundane, too. Who knows? Maybe deciding what to have for dinner is one of your parents’ major shared interests!

If you want to talk to interesting people about interesting things, schedule big chunks of conversational time in person. Otherwise, write letters. That’s how substantial conversations, deep conversations, usually take place. Some conversational partners have substantial interchanges when they talk on the phone but a) that is rare and b) those are conversations that were established in-person.

Having said that, if you want to have a substantial conversation on the phone with your mom, all you have to do is to say, “Mom, I’ve have this problem, and I’ve been wrestling what to do with it. My problem is ______. What do you think?” or “Mom, I was having this conversation with this friend of mine the other day, and they think X. I think Y. What do you think?” Then you listen and you don’t argue. Your mother, learning that you value her opinions even when you do not agree with them, will probably look forward to these “less mundane” conversations.

If she is the kind that just sizes up a situation, makes a decision, and goes with it, though, do not expect her to become the kind of person who beats a question to death. From that kind of decision-maker, expect a straight-forward answer, and that’s it. If you do not try to re-make your parents’ basic philosophies of politics and life or their decision-making style, though, and you’ll be fine.

Oh, and learn to care about what your mom says she had for dinner. If it meant nothing to her, she wouldn’t mention it. You might, however, look for something a little deeper to say about it. “Oh, you had X? Wow, you’ve been using that grill a lot. You used to mostly make stews and casseroles this time of year. Are you liking that change?” Maybe she’ll start talking about her reasons for the cooking choices she’s been making, and that could get more interesting.

I am wondering what kind of conversation **you **are bringing to the table. You say they make small talk. What is your input? If you are bored by their conversations, why don’t you choose the topic, or lead the conversation as you desire since you are the one it bothers?:shrug:

Why not ask them something about their lives? Even if it is something you might know about already. “Hey Mom, where did you say you and dad met?” …Or “hey mom, do you have that recipe for xyz? I was thinking about how you used to make that for xyz.”
“Dad, remember that time you and I went to xyz? I was thinking about that today when I saw xyz on tv.” People ask questions to start conversations.

Could it be that you do not include your parents in your life enough for them to be able to talk to you about more than small talk? :shrug:

When I was about your age, we lived 9 hours away from my mom. My mom was in her early 70s. I talked to her on the phone every afternoon. “What are you making for dinner?” Or, “how was the cake you baked yesterday?” Or I bought some xyz on sale today at the market, they were 4 for $3," were common topics. She died right before her 80th birthday.

I would give anything to hear her voice on the phone making small talk.

I find that I can have great conversations with my dad, who is not much of a talker, if I start by asking him for advice.

I know I’m blessed just to be able to talk to them.
Objectively, There are heaps of things to talk about (except doesn’t like sport) but the problem is,my mother senses if something seems forced and then it feels uncomfortable.
So,if I TRY to make conversation,she senses that it seems forced and unnatural and doesn’t really continue the conversation.

What sort of advice please?

Thanks.But don’t phone conversations like that seem a bit superficial?To me it seems this way but maybe it’s my perception that’s wrong?

For me it’s more my mother too.

Thanks a lot for your help.
Asking her a question like that might help.

I don’t try to remake their decisions or politics etc and I’m the sort of person that can accept all people’s (parents and everyone else’s)views even if I hold different ones and never argue about politics etc because no politic could ever be so important to come between relationships.
That said,my mum is not interested in politics,or things happening in the world,or science or current affairs etc.
She likes more stuff like beautifying,clothes,cooking etc.
I like the first two but don’t care for cooking/food.
I will try the suggestions you made about being interested in what she had for dinner-I just hope it won’t sound forced!

I will try to say something to keep conversation going but sometimes I feel Im saying the wrong thing.
For example my mum wanted us to buy a cake for a celebration,I said to her what kind of flavour cake would she like (to try to extend the conversation) .My mum responded with “whichever flavour you would like” I didn’t know what to respond next/how to keep the conversation flowing after that as she had given me a matter of fact answer.

I’m really sorry about your mum :frowning:

For me it’s more my mother too.

I think small talk is all some people can do, are your parents better talkers with their friends?

Anything you’re thinking about, worried about, or have a question about. Here are some of the things I talked to my parents about last week.

“Dad, I need two new tires on my car. Where do you like to go for tires? Do you have a brand you trust?”

“Dad, what would you do in my situation about this hospital bill? Would you dispute it?”

“Mom, do you know anything about your great-grandparents?” (I’m working on a genealogy project).

“Mom, how do you time the sale of a house when you only want to sell if you can buy a place you like better first?”

Your parents have decades more experience than you do; use that to your advantage! They won’t be around forever and you might really get to know them before they’re gone.

Another good, and interesting conversation topic:

“Mom/Dad, tell me about your childhood.”

They can’t give just a one-word answer and you can probe them if they give vague answers:

“Oh, really?”
“What did you play?”
“What was school like for you?”
“How was it different from when I was going to school?”
“Who was your favorite teacher?”
“What was the hardest job you ever did?”
“What did you like best about raising kids”
“Tell me about my grandparents.”
“Did you know your grandparents?”

Collect stories and you’ll be glad you did, especially if you some day have kids and they ask you about your parents.

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