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.