Three Things To Build Relationships With Parents


I am a big supporter of parents. A long time ago I discovered the importance in a cooperative relationship between parents and my youth ministry. Parents want the best for their teens, even if they have difficulty expessing it. I want the best for my students who live with these parents.

Developing a supportive relationship with the parents of your students is crucial. Consider these three things to keep in mind.

1. Open the Office Doors. Make it known to your parents that you want to be available for them. Be willing to meet with them in your office, for a cup of coffee at the local cafe’, or in their home. Listen to them; their ideas, their fears, their wants, their needs, and even their critiques. Whether you realize it or not, you are all on the same team. Your willingness to always be open will go a long way in building those relationships and their trust.

2. Support And Respect Their Role as Parents. You are the youth worker. They are the parents. The sooner you come to grips with that fact the better off you’ll be. As the youth worker, your job is to come along side the parents and support them not contradict what they do. Respect the decisions they make concerning the teen, even when they ground them from your youth group. If a parent suspects that you are working against them, you and the student will lose.

3. Pray for Them. Parenting is hard work. Students today have more freedoms and access to the world than ever before. Even the “best of parents” struggle with the responsibility of raising teenagers in this ever-changing culture. Take the time to lift them up before the Throne of Grace interceding for them. As you get to know your families, ask about specific needs they may have with regards to their teens. Just knowing someone is lifting them up in prayer can make all the difference in the life of the student and the family.

Parents aren’t the enemy. By learning how to work with them you not only gain their trust, support, and respect, but you demonstrate to your students that their parents aren’t as bad as they think. In fact, you will plant the seeds in their lives that will later sprout when they themselves are parents.

– jay

2 thoughts on “Three Things To Build Relationships With Parents

  1. My thoughts:

    There is good stuff here, but we’ve had trouble just getting them to show up to stuff. So, we’ve simply created more opportunities to interact with them; camp informational meetings, fundraisers that strongly recommend/require parental participation, and some have responded very positively.

    The tough part for us is that the church I’m in is not really focused on building relationships with outsiders. Our churched parents think, “My kids have gone to camp forever…why should I attend this meeting” when they should see these sorts of things as opportunities to build relationships. I’ve got some ideas on how to crack that nut, but I’m “just the youth guy”. Know what I mean?

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  2. I hear ya, John. I don’t have much success getting parents to come out to meetings either. Recently, we held a dreaming session, an opportunity for parents to come and share ideas for the ministry. Only a hand full of parents attended the event. So instead of hoping parents might come, I’ve gone with the “go to them” method. Slowly, one at a time, I am seeking out parents and working to get to know them. Nothing fancy, programatic or even strategic. I’m just looking for a few moments here and there where I can sit and talk.

    We have our parents nights coming up in just a few weeks. It’s the one event that we usually get a good turn out for. I am looking forward to this year’s because we are announcing our new Middle School program and I expect many of those parents to be there. I’ll let you know what happens.

    – jay

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