Too often teenagers don’t share things with their parents. Or parents don’t take time to listen to their teens. Or some combination of these issues. As a result, parents often don’t know the true heart issues of their children and children don’t feel understood by their parents. Today, we want to help bridge that gap.
Recently, we took a survey of some of the teenagers in our youth ministry, asking them what three things they wished their parents knew. The results were eye-opening. Here are the most common categories:
- Mental health issues
- Friends and Relationships
- Being able to talk openly
- Rules and Boundaries
Now, we don’t want this information to be discouraging, but rather seen as an opportunity for parents to respond healthily to these concerns. Here’s some thoughts on how to do that:
- Connect with some resources. At Calvary Chapel we are currently taking our High School Ministry through Fuller Youth Institutes’ series Faith in an Anxious World. It is full of great parent resources as well. Check some of them out, particularly their Faith In An Anxious World Parent Podcast.
- Give Language and Permission to share openly. We must be the initiators but also the listeners. Make sure to ask good questions and then truly listen to the responses you get.
- Do Some Research. We need to be students of our students. We need to know the warning signs of significant issues. We need to know how to get help. If your child is expressing significant mental health issues or thoughts of self-harm, don’t wait to get them help. Find a good Christian counselor. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255, or call 911 if it is an immediate emergency.
- Pray for and with your children. They need God’s guidance and presence even more than they need yours.
We hope that this episode leads you to hope and health and some great conversations with your children. Take advantage of this opportunity and ask some good questions about these issues. Seeking our children’s heart is not normal, so Be Abnormal!