Youth Leader Tips:Monday: Parents (MY CHILD IS ?)

Every Monday I will be posting “Hope it Helps” tips about youth ministry. Here is the first of many 🙂

I receive calls from parents all the time concerning their children acting out rebelliously and out of control. There is never a quick fix answer in these cases. We also don’t counsel the children as a psychologist would. Our job is to come long side the parent and assist them in guiding their children spiritually. I’ve seen miraculous changes take place in students lives who decided to start a genuine relationship with Christ.  I have a list of strategic questions I ask parents when they call which helps me better in assisting them.  I would love to share them with you.

Questions about the student:

  1. What’s their name?  It’s just polite to call the student by name and not (kid, the child in question, defendant or perpetrator while in conversation with their parent ha!
  2. What grade are they in? Knowing what grade they are in helps me gauge what pressures they are feeling in school.  While most pressures are the same for all grade levels, I have noticed a few are different. For example, Freshman-trying to fit in; Sophomore-I’m not a Freshman but I’m not a cool Junior either; Junior-school work and college readiness and workload schedule; Senior-oh crap this is it whether I did good or bad…it’s over and real life begins.
  3. Which school do they go to? It helps me to know if the student goes to one of the schools that makes up our youth ministry.  Side tip..It is very helpful knowing the spiritual culture of the schools that makes up your ministry.
  4. How are they with the family? When I ask this question I’m looking for isolated incidents of conflict with one family member or if there is conflict with everyone.
  5. In the past, how much trouble have they been in? This question really helps me gauge the severity of the students behavior.

Are they in counseling? FYI

Questions about the parents:

  1. Has anything happened in the home such as divorce, layoff, tragic death, anything that would push them in this direction? Gotta know what your up against.
  2. Do you all belong to a church? This helps me gauge the families priorities.
  3. How often do you attend church? Gauging how important they think attending church is.
  4. How active are they in the church and are they in a small group? If they answer the first two questions with (yes) and (all the time), I ask this follow-up question because it will be important that the child see the parents being active if we are going to advise them in doing the same.

If you are thinking these questions might be to personal I would say that if they are reaching out to you then they need help.  You need as much info as possible so that you can assist them and know what you are up against.  I’ve had parents talk for an hour about how angry their child is and how he wants nothing to do with God only to tell me at the end that her and his father are going through a rough divorce. My advice, control the conversation with questions so that you have a better look into the situation before you even begin engaging in the conversation. Hope it helps!

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