What To Do With Difficult Parents

It’s easy to go online and find a rant from some teacher, or youth minister griping about parents.  The comments range from, “They just don’t care!”  to “They are suffocating their kids!”  Parents are challenging, but necessary.

Courtesy of symphony of love/Creative Commons License

Courtesy of symphony of love/Creative Commons License

If you want your ministry to be strong you need a healthy approach to parents, even the difficult ones.  Instead of pushing them away, look at loving them.  That means:

NOT BRINGING ISSUES ONLINE

Parents are going to be difficult because they care so much about their kids.  Instead of putting your frustrations online:

  • BRING THEM TO A TRUSTED FRIEND: Have someone who can hear you out and then hold you accountable to addressing the issue.
  • PRAY FOR GUIDANCE: Bring all your worries to God and ask Him to bring you the right words.
  • LISTEN TO THE PROBLEM BENEATH THE PROBLEM: Most times if parents are complaining to you or coming after you it’s because of something deeper.  Slow yourself down and listen to what’s really going on.

You also never want to be caught publicly griping.  If that happens you will lose the trust of all parents.

GIVING THEM A TRUSTED ALLY 

One of the main reasons you need men and women in your ministry is to expand your relational capacity. A difficult parent is sometimes a struggling one who needs someone to come alongside of them.

When your volunteers connect with parents it gives them a go to person when you aren’t available.  This will give you margin, but most important give the parents are loving and reassuring voice.

COMMUNICATING TRANSPARENCY AND CONSISTENTLY

Parents can be difficult when the communication drops.  Make sure you have a communication strategy where you are:  Communicate in every way that you can and:

  • Share materials that you use in your program
  • Update parents through social media, blog and/or newsletter
  • Take a few out for coffee or a bite to eat every couple of weeks.
  • Invite them to give you feedback.

Don’t leave them in the dark.  When parents feel like they are in the know they’ll begin to trust you.

BRAGGING ON THEIR KIDS

Parents aren’t always sure they are doing a good job.  If there is a teen in your ministry knocking it out of the park call the parents.  Tell them why their kid is wonderful and give them praise for what they do.

Not only will you make that parent’s day (maybe year) but you’ll show them that you love their kid and care about them.

PRAYING FOR THEM CONSTANTLY

We always remember to pray for the teens, and our volunteers, but what about the parents?  Make sure when you are with your team that you ask God to guide parents, to love them and encourage them.

God is calling you to connect with parents, even the difficult ones.  Love them, even when they frustrate you.  Remember that parenting is a journey too.

Question:  How do you love difficult parents?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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