Winning with parents

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These seven tips come from Dean Hawk Ministries.

1. Invite parents to youth services. Let them know they are welcome any time. You may want to have a special youth service night when all of the teenagers bring their parents.

2. Utilize their talents and gifts. Parents are a wonderful resource for youth leaders, artist, cooks, drivers, corporate sponsorship, etc...

3. Always hear both sides of the story before casting judgment. At times I have been ready to read a parent the riot act, but then I hear their perspective and it changes the situation completely. Teenagers are not always great at communicating all of the facts.

4. Seek and rely upon the input, advice, and wisdom of parents. Often I would call a parent to run an idea by them or see what their opinion was on showing a certain movie and it was often a fresh perspective.

5. Let parents know you are here to be a support to them, not trying to "win their teen" from them. As youth leaders our job is to steer teenagers back to their parents.

6. Inform parents of any serious or ongoing discipline problems. I always ask myself, "Would I want to know about it if it was my child?" In order not to break the confidence of a teenager or make them feel like I am going behind their back, I give them three options: 1) You tell them. 2) I tell them. Or, 3) We tell them together. The teenager usually wants there parents never to find out, but by taking this approach it gives them some control of the situation.

7. When a teenager asks you a question your first question back to them should be, "What do your parents think?" Otherwise, they could use your answer as ammunition with their parents. Be leery of questions about dating, curfew, etc. Always steer the student back to their parent's advice and opinions.

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