Involving parents at youth group. It’s a sticky topic, let’s be real! Sometimes youth workers and parents can feel at odds, as if they were adversaries of how programming should go or how something should be discussed.
In general, parents and youth leaders want to work together to make youth group the best experience possible for students – keeping in mind what that looks like for a teenager. Even outside our teenage years, we can remember just how we felt when our parents showed up when we were hanging out with friends at that age. It was just so embarrassing (even if today we can agree that feeling this way was quite ridiculous).
Teens today may be quite different than decades ago; but that old feeling still stays true: sometimes they just don’t want to hang out with their parents (OK, a lot of the time).
Middle and high school is a pivotal time in teens’ lives as they are undergoing a lot of identity formation in and out of their church youth group. It makes sense, with this in mind, why they may want space from their parents.
Every youth group is different – there’s no one right way for parents to be involved, but we thought we’d help you start the discussion to get parents connected in your youth ministry.
The bottom line: Encourage your parents to get involved
Faith conversations don’t have to stop when at the end of a youth event at church. Encourage parents to be vulnerable and create a space for discussion when their teen gets home from youth group.
No teen is fooling anybody. Even if they have an attitude, they want their parents to understand and meet them where they’re at with their faith. If a teen feels an adult comes from a place of honesty, they are more likely to feel safe sharing what they learned that night, what faith topics they’re mulling over, and how these things impact them.
In addition, ask parents and caring adults to sign up for trips as chaperones, be involved in service projects, and show up for the special youth nights. It means a lot to teens, whether they express it openly or not.
Know that, if you’re a youth worker or a parent (or even both), if you are connecting with teens, you are changing lives and doing God’s work. Keep it up!
On the Youth Ministry Podcast, Bryan and Erik discuss the pros and cons of parent involvement, how to navigate it, and offer practical tips for youth workers and parents. Tune in now!