Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

The Five Words That Are Killing The Conversation With Your Teen

3 · 04 · 19

This is my third reflection on the Growing With book by Kara Powell and Steve Argue. You can catch up on my journey here. I’m going chapter by chapter, fleshing out my Withing skills. I have three kids between the ages of 19 and 26 so this book has caught me at the perfect time.

Let me say a word to youth workers. You may not be a parent of a teen or young adult or you may not even have kids at all, but you are still called to minister to the whole family. Growing With will give you tremendous insight into where many of the parents in your ministry, like me, are frustrated, clueless, and sometimes scared in their parenting journey.

In chapter three, there are some great quotes that parents and youth workers alike can get behind, such as,

We can hire and buy cool, but we can’t hire – or fake – warmth – a pastor

Warmth is what kids are attracted to whether that warmth comes from a parent or a youth worker. I can say that parents with multiple kids have varying degrees of warmth with different kids at different times.

My youngest and I have nerd stuff to warm over. My middle son and I have movies(I used to take him to midnight movies on school nights) and my daughter and I have date nights and create warmth around food.

But, warmth is more than just having an affinity with our kids over common likes. Warmth is about how open we are as parents and wether our kids feel like we are approachable. Open to talk to, without judgment, sarcasm or lectures. I must admit, the last one was hard for me.

Kara and Steve called me out by saying that these five words will kill a conversion quicker than anything, “When I was your age”. My kids didn’t need me to lecture them, they needed me to listen. They didn’t need to know what life was like for me “back then”, they needed me to care about what life is like for them now.

One of the key principles in leading a small group discussion is the ability to ask open ended questions. Kara and Steve encourage parents to use these three words for keeping the dialogue open and moving between our kids and us, “Tell me more” Tell me more is a non-threatening invitation to share as much or as little as they like.

Even though I’ve improved my communication over the years, I know I can always get better. In fact, I must keep getting better because I don’t know where life will take my kids. I want to ready, to always remain warm, open and approachable so my kids can come to me with anything that comes down the line.

Growing With offers many suggestions for how to maintain this warmth with your kids and even has suggestions for grand parents as well. There are many grand parents raising their grand kids for one reason or another and the book offers them some suggestions to connect without needing to know everything about their grand kids technology or culture.

If you’re a youth worker without kids, get the book and read it in humility. Admit that you don’t understand what it means to be a parent, yet, but you want to be empathetic to where parents are in their journey with their kids.

Here are a few ideas of ways you might use this book with your parents

Write your own review and recommend the book to parents

Post quotes or stats from the book to create discussions

Find a parent (if you’re not one) to read the book and start a book club.

Parents, be encouraged. God loves your kids more than you do. He’s with them even when you cannot be. Keep praying and keep showing your kids that you want to change and you want to grow with them. They’ll come around.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Next: How To Fight For Your Kids, Not With Them

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