How To Be A Resource To Parents

As a parent of small children I’m constantly reminded that my wife and I can’t do this on our own. That’s why we are constantly looking for assistance from people, books, blogs and websites. While there is a lot available not all of it is useful.

Youth ministries are competing against so much to prove to parents that it’s an important part of a teen’s life.  You as the youth minister need to show why.  

To show parents how you can be more than just a resource you need to start:

CHEERING THEM ON

An important resource is affirmation.  No parent is perfect and they don’t need to be reminded of that. Instead they need someone reminding them of what they are doing well.

Parents will often hear from teachers or us when their teens is messing up. Try to change that by reaching out to tell them something positive they did.  It will boost a parent’s confidence and their trust in you.

CULTIVATING CONVERSATIONS

Parents are interested in what their teens know and do. However, they don’t always know how to get the ball rolling on the conversation.  Be a resource that cultivates that conversation by:

  • Being transparent with resources.
  • Providing parents with questions to ask.
  • Challenging teens to bring up the conversation.
  • Have leaders follow up via email or a phone call.

When the conversation continues at home teens will continue to grow. Give parents the tools they need.

BRINGING THEM ALONG

You need to make sure parents are growing as well. Be a liaison between parents and the church by introducing them to opportunities where they can grow.

If there is nothing available for them talk to your pastor about starting small groups.  Get them involved in ministry.  Don’t just throw a resource at them, help them find the right one.

BEING AVAILABLE

This is difficult considering that you cannot be everywhere at all times.  Being available means creating a ministry where your volunteers extend your capacity.  

Introduce parents to the other adults in your ministry.  Host an open house, introduce them in an email and make sure parents know that your ministry is more than you.  

Parents want what’s best for their teens.  They want to know that you are going to be a resource and not an obstacle.  Build your ministry where you aren’t just winning over teens but parents as well.

Question:  How are you coming alongside of parents?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Brian Baudoin

    One of our goals this year is to try and focus on helping parents through transitional periods in their child’s progression through different ministries. Last year we had a preview day for our incoming sixth graders and had a mini session for the parents to explain what the program is like.

    This year we’ll still do a night at the beginning or end of the year or summer for the 5th graders, but the goal is to have a separate night for the parents of the incoming 6th graders, 9th graders, and outgoing seniors. Eventually maybe the parents of the incoming kindergarteners starting faith formation as well. It’ll be a showcase of what our program has to offer them, but also it would be nice to add a social element for them to meet other parents and get away from the kids for a night. Also, it might be good to provide them with parenting resources specific to their child’s age group. Still brainstorming.

    Most parents will admit that, especially with their firstborn, parenting is hard and they’re not always sure what to do. These transitions are a good opportunity to come along side the parents as a support, and to make them as a family feel comfortable with their next progression in youth ministry.

    • Brian, I think you nailed it with walking with parents through transitions. It’s such a vulnerable time. Great insight.

  • Joshua

    Thanks for another great article.
    As we are in the process of planning for the upcoming year we had already discussed how to bridge the gap with the parents and the rest of the parish. Your article has just solidified some of the thoughts we already had. One idea we had was to invite parents to attend our youth gatherings as guest speakers. Sometimes this could be delivering catechesis input but other times (and maybe more importantly) it could be sharing their testimony. I thought I was doing this to benefit the youth participants but after reading this I think it is beneficial to everybody and it is practically working towards an intergenerational ministry.

    • Joshua,

      Great idea. I love the idea of having parents share their testimonies. I think it’s important to try new things, let me know how that turns out.