How do I get parents involved in our youth ministry?
Ok, we know that you aren’t babysitters, but sometimes we treat you like one!
Do you want to know why?
Because we are tired and need just a little break from parenting a teen. Surely since you are a youth pastor or worker , you must know what you are doing, right? I know.
That is a totally messed up way to view you , the youth minister.
We as parents have a messed up view, sometimes, of the role you play in our teen’s life!
For some reason, we think that just because you work for a church, you have a more direct line to Godly influence than anyone else. That is just basically wrong!
We have branded you as a hero, someone who will come and save the day! A lot of times, we as parents, feel very alone in this whole parenting role and you bring a ray of hope and relief when you enter the picture. It’s a very unfair mantle to place on you.
So how do you get parent’s to understand that you are here to support them and not to replace them? You involve them in the youth ministry.
First, you let them know they are important to their teen.
Did you know that most parents have no idea that they are the greatest influence in their teen’s life? “But my teen won’t even speak to me!” is one of the most common complaints I hear from parents. And I often tell them that their teen won’t speak to them because they are too busy watching them. Words are just an aggravating hum in our teens reality. But our actions… well now that is something far different.
Second, let them know that you need their input and time.
Just to be honest, in today’s society parents have been hindered from having much influence inside the school walls. Unfortunately, for the safety of our teens we now have armed policemen roaming the halls of our middle and high schools. We have metal detectors at the entrances. And unless you have a very specific appointment, access is often denied to protect the teenagers inside! So, yeah, we aren’t sure quite where we belong when it comes to our teens. Tell us you need us. Tell us that we can help. You might be surprised at the reaction!
Third, understand that we as parents can actually make your job easier.
I know there are some of you who are vehemently disagreeing with me right now! I don’t blame you. Parents can be some of the hardest people to deal with. Understand that mama bears and papa bears love their cubs. Period. But that doesn’t give us the right to verbally harass you or disrespect you. But, occasionally, it might be in your best interest to listen to us, because we do know of what we speak!
Imagine having a magical mirror that let’s you see into the everyday lives of these teens that you are trying so desperately to reach for the Kingdom. That mirror is held by every parent of every teenager that you deal with. Sometimes we, as parents, just don’t understand how to maximize the time and influence we share with our teenager. We need your help.
Shellie Hochstetler encourages parents of teenagers daily at www.ParentMinistry.net and www.Parentzilla.com. She has survived raising 4 teenagers and in her own words, “they are extremely awesome”. She describes parenting as “terrifying but fulfilling, lonely while extremely loud, and completely exhausting while in the same breathe exhilarating!” Shellie lives in her dream home in Nashville, TN with her husband, kids, a horse, and some chickens.