I have worked with students for twenty years now. In those twenty years, I’ve had many parents ask me for parenting advice. Until recently, I used to cringe. I never knew what to say.
When I was younger, the easiest response was to shrug and say… ”I don’t know… I’m not a parent.” But then that changed, and I became a dad. Once I had kids of my own, I assumed I would eventually have a good answer. But even after 10 years of being a dad… I still didn’t know what to tell those parents.
Sure, I could have given a general “checklist” of things to do in order to be a great parent. But, I knew, unless the heart was behind it, none of that would really matter in the long run.
So we have taken some big strides in our Parent Ministry (follow us on Instagram @parentministry and @marinersjhm if you’re interested) and its been a fun journey. We just had an event that was very well attended. It was a Parent Learning Lab on Social Media with Adam Mclane from The Youth Cartel and co-author of A Parents Guide to Social Media.
It was a big moment for me, for our ministry at Mariners Church, and for me as a leader. Some parents commented on how highly attended this event was. Others talked about parent events they’d attended in the past that looked more like ghost towns. So how did we find success? Well I’ll be honest, we had to “romance” our parent ministry.
As the parent of two teenage girls, I think one of the biggest mistakes parents of young teens can make is thinking we need to control the behavior of our kids. We can feel pressured to tell them what kind of people they need to be, so we can keep our kids from moving outside God’s moral boundaries. But this is dangerous.
When we focus on trying to control the outward behavior of our young teens, we actually hinder their development and cause a great deal of stress for ourselves.
STAGE 1. Until your child is around 4 years old, you are in the “physical labor” stage of parenting. Your world revolves around Changing Diapers, Sleep Deprivation, Potty Training, and Car Seats. All you want is a nap. This stage is defined by physical labor.