In Tim Elmore’s book, “iY – Our Last Chance To Save Their Future”, Tim describes different types of parenting styles that are less than helpful. As I reflect on my youth ministry experiences I clearly see many of the following:
- Helicopter Parents – they hover too close to the kids at all times.
- Karaoke Parents – they try too hard to be cool, often parroting back what their kids do, say, and wear.
- Dry-Cleaner Parents – drop their kids off for others to raise.
- Volcano Parents – erupt over minor issues. (If you’ve never witnessed this just spend more time at Wal-Mart. You’re bound to encounter these parents.)
- Dropout Parents – these parents have just quit on their kids.
- Bullied Parents – can’t stand up to their kids.
- Groupie Parents – treat their kids like rock stars.
- Commando Parents – let rules trump relationships.
Parenting is hard. When I think about the challenges facing kids today I can see why parents may be tempted to default to the perceived “path of least resistance” when it comes to parenting.
Those of us in ministry take sabbath rests (or we should), clinicians work to prevent compassion fatigue to avoid burnout, those in the workforce are allowed vacation/sick time to recoup, but what about parents? When are they afforded an opportunity to rest? To retreat? To sharpen their parenting skills? To avoid parenting burnout?
Can our ministries find better ways to support our parents? Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Plan regular gatherings for parents (i.e., retreats, workshops, one day training events, etc). Events that just validates the struggles of parenting kids in today’s world. Target the single mom, the over worked dad, the couple struggling to find time for each other and provide a soul care getaway.
2. Develop a mentoring ministry just for parents. Find those from previous generations that have earned the grey hair from weathering the storm of raising kids and have them walk alongside a younger couple neck-deep in the pool. (This would be a great affinity group for your small group ministry.)
These are just a couple of ideas to get you thinking. We are likely to have the full support of the parents in our ministry efforts if they know we have their back first.