It’s not uncommon for parents to rely on teen ministry groups to take care of their teen’s spiritual needs.
What parents may not realize is that their teens need their parents more now than ever. In fact, most teens talk about issues that they wish their parents knew more about.
While teen ministry groups feel like a safe place, they’d love to share more with their parents. Most importantly, they want their parents to understand them.
It’s Okay To Be Involved
A common misunderstanding about teens is they don’t want their parents involved in their lives. Yes, teens tend to be more secretive, but it’s up to the parents to take interest in what their teen is doing. Believe it or not, teen ministry members wish their parents were more involved in their lives and interests. While you don’t need to hover, you should make a point of being involved, talking to them and learning about what they like and don’t like.
Understand How Things Are Different
Every new generation of teens experiences different issues than their parents. For instance, today’s teens deal with cyberbullying, whereas their parents never had to worry about that. Self-esteem issues and depression are common problems teen ministry members face. Teens want their parents to understand the struggles they face today, such as the pressure to be involved in school, church and even hold down a job while still being social with friends.
Even if parents can’t relate exactly, teens want their parents to listen without judgment. It’s one of the reasons teens open up more in ministry groups. They feel safer, but they still want their parents to better understand them.
Give Space, But Enforce Boundaries
Yes, teens do need space to explore their world, but what they wish their parents knew is that they still need boundaries. It’s not enough to just rely on teen ministry groups to teach teens right and wrong. Teens wish that parents would talk to them, ask questions and enforce boundaries. Having consequences helps teens stay on the right path.
All teens act out at some point, even those that seem 100% perfect. Teens just want their parents to give them space to make mistakes, but help them avoid making major mistakes. Instead of just getting angry, it’s important to talk things out, much like teen ministry leaders do.
Spiritual Guidance Goes Beyond Teen Ministry
Usually, teens attend a ministry group an hour or two a week. However, spiritual guidance doesn’t stop with church. Teens wish their parents knew how badly they need guidance throughout the week too. Whether it’s a question about their faith or how to best deal with someone who’s treating them badly, they need parents to guide them.
The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is true. Spiritual development goes beyond church and teen ministry groups. Teens look to their parents for guidance and as influences. For instance, if you want your teens involved more in the church, get involved too.
They Interact At Church Differently But Still Believe
It’s easy for parents to just assume their teens don’t truly believe just because they interact differently. For instance, a busy teen might need Sunday to wind down after a particularly stressful week at school. Instead of going to church, they listen to a religious podcast online.
Teen ministry members wish their parents knew that their faith is strong, even if they worship differently. They’re more likely to interact online, such as reading church blog posts, listening to sermons online and even talking to their fellow ministry members in special forums or on social networks.
Today’s teens may not worship the same as their parents or grandparents, but they still believe. Their worship style does involve more technology and modern music because that’s what they relate to and they wish their parents understood that.
Want to make your church more teen friendly? Start with a church website to help teens, parents and other members connect in a digital era.