Partnering with Parents

 

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There is not a more influential person in the life of a youth you work with than their parents. This is why it is so important to partner with parents. The things you are guiding youth through and the skills you are developing in them can have maximum impact when they are reinforced at home. To bridge the gap between your program and the home, communication is key to set parents up for success.

Having a plan for communication that is consistent allows parents to know what to expect and when to expect it. The goal for the weekly parents email is to inform, equip and encourage. We inform parents of events, programs, and discussions that are happening in group. Then, we can equip parents by giving them conversation guides and questions to further the conversation at home. Equipping parents also looks like sending out resources to reinforce the power of family. Parenting is tough, working with youth is tough, yet when we can encourage one another we realize that we are all in it together.

Our friends at Orange set up youth programs to do just that. They have a new Parent Cue Live event that will help parents rediscover what their kids need most in each phase of life, reprioritize how to engage their kids, reimagine how to talk with their kids about critical issues and rethink how parents can partner with churches and other organizations to impact the future of their kid’s life. We are super excited for these events coming up. Check out the website here to learn about when they are coming to a city near you.

We wanted to give you something else for free! We created a back to school guide on ways to partner with your kid’s teacher. If parents, teachers and other caring adults all work together to influence the lives of our kid’s they will create a place where youth can thrive.

Parents are important too

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Navigating family dynamics can be difficult. As someone who works with the children of other people this is particularly true. You are in a kids life as a coach, pastor, teacher or mentor and trying to help them navigate life. Parents are also there to help navigate the lives of their kids. I have seen and experienced a few situations where this dynamic was tricky. When in the middle of conversations with either kids or parents there are a few key concepts that help me to navigate the conversations.

They aren’t your kids

This idea is crucial. The kids that you working with are not yours. You are not the primary spiritual leader, the primary influencer, for the kids, their parents are. This is difficult especially when you do not agree with parenting styles or situations. Just remember that your influence diminishes when you are not able to have access to because you’ve over stepped a boundary.

Point the kids back to their parents

There will be times when kids just talk trash on their parents. They will yell about them and get angry with them. There will be times when those same parents talk badly about you for whatever reason. You are able to demonstrate grace and peace when you can point kids to their parents and even support those parents that may have treated you unfairly.

Admit when you’re wrong

Sometimes we mess up. We let a kid get hurt (guilt of this one a few times), we don’t show up when we are supposed to or we give advice that is contradictory to what the parents want. Simply saying sorry and asking for forgiveness is a huge step in dealing with parents.

Dealing with kids also means dealing with those kids parents. Make sure you have open lines of communication and cue the parent up for even greater influence with their kids. Have dinner at their house and get to know the kids family. Go over expectations and follow their rules for their kids. It may be difficult but when all the stake holders in a kids life are united you will find greater success in influencing the lives of kids.a