Resources for Parents and Family Ministry

I’m a book junkie.  Christmas is coming up, and my gut instinct is to buy everyone a theology book, because that’s what I would want for Christmas from each of them.  It’s Monday morning, and I’m convinced it’s going to be a good day because when I walked into my office, I had a commentary on James by Douglas Moo sitting on my desk.  I love books.  One of my mentors, Brandon Barnard, instilled in my a passion for reading.  I saw him read, knew he read regularly, and wanted (and want) to teach as effectively as he does.  “Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”

That comes with a fault.  Any time an issue comes up, particularly in the lives of other people, my instinct is to say, “Read this.  That’ll fix it.”  This isn’t necessarily bad, but just like curriculums, it’s only as good as the person is willing to own it.  Resources like books and studies are exactly that…resources.  They’re not fixes, 1-stop-shops, solutions, or the be all and end all of a problem.  But, used well, they can lead to resolution.

During our D-Group last night, a couple of the parents in my ministry were talking about how their oldest is nearing 13.  With it comes drama, frustration, testosterone, puberty, etc.  Up until this point, they felt confident, but now they’re starting to feel the tension of parenting a teenager.  Luckily, I’m 23 (almost 24) years old, no kids, and have all the parenting answers!  Right?  No?  No.

So I talked with the couple about having a tendency to throw books at problems, hoping they’ll fix it.  We came to a point where they said they’ll read anything I can throw at them, digest it, and use what’s profitable.  Wednesday night, I’ll loan them a copy of Reggie Joiner’s Parenting Beyond Your Capacity and see how they like it.  I’ve watched the videos with Chap Clark, but never read the book.

ALL OF THAT TO SAY, this weekend, I’ve exposed a huge gap in my family ministry capabilities.  I’ve always felt the tension of not having students, but I also don’t have an adequate resource bank to work from when it comes from raising students, particularly ones coming into their teenage years.  So here’s what I desperately need…what are your top 3 resources you would recommend parents of teenagers and why?  Particularly parents of students entering into their teenage years!

12 Comments

  1. "Stupid Parents" and "Not So Stupid Parents" by Hayley DiMarco were very good. One book is for students, the other for parents. They cover the same material but from respective perspectives (that wasn't meant to rhyme, but I liked it). These books encourage, above all, communication between teens and their parents, encouraging each side to see things from the others' point of view. No subject is taboo, which I liked. I highly recommend these books.
  2. "Stupid Parents" and "Not So Stupid Parents" by Hayley DiMarco were very good. One book is for students, the other for parents. They cover the same material but from respective perspectives (that wasn't meant to rhyme, but I liked it). These books encourage, above all, communication between teens and their parents, encouraging each side to see things from the others' point of view. No subject is taboo, which I liked. I highly recommend these books.
  3. I've read James Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys" and found it helpful, but more than that I enjoyed Gary Chapman's books "The Five Love Languages of Children" and "The Five Love Languages of Teenagers." The latter two were written to help parents, teachers, mentors, youth workers, and the like learn how to speak the five primary love "languages" we all have. As Chapman puts it, many parents genuinely love their children, but few children truly feel loved. Learning how to love and properly communicate love to our teenagers is so important to help them feel secure, set an example for them of God's love for us, and so much more. I could go on and on here about how helpful I found those books to be.
  4. I've read James Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys" and found it helpful, but more than that I enjoyed Gary Chapman's books "The Five Love Languages of Children" and "The Five Love Languages of Teenagers." The latter two were written to help parents, teachers, mentors, youth workers, and the like learn how to speak the five primary love "languages" we all have. As Chapman puts it, many parents genuinely love their children, but few children truly feel loved. Learning how to love and properly communicate love to our teenagers is so important to help them feel secure, set an example for them of God's love for us, and so much more. I could go on and on here about how helpful I found those books to be.
  5. Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna, Real World Parents by Mark Matlock, and Church + Home by Mark Holmen (or Faith Begins at Home). Also, Orange Parents has several resources online for parents that I regularly send parents to for advice, guidance, ideas, etc. Most of these are focused on passing faith on to children, and not necessarily the other dynamics of parenting.
  6. Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna, Real World Parents by Mark Matlock, and Church + Home by Mark Holmen (or Faith Begins at Home). Also, Orange Parents has several resources online for parents that I regularly send parents to for advice, guidance, ideas, etc. Most of these are focused on passing faith on to children, and not necessarily the other dynamics of parenting.
  7. Kinda old-school, but I liked "Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry" by Jim Burns and Mike DeVries. Good reminder that parents are the BEST option for spiritual development, not the enemy.
  8. Kinda old-school, but I liked "Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry" by Jim Burns and Mike DeVries. Good reminder that parents are the BEST option for spiritual development, not the enemy.
  9. This comment has nothing to do with your question about resources, but the graphic at the top reminded me of an experience my family had. We were at a Japanese steakhouse, the kind where a number of people all sit at the same table. On one side was my family (my wife, our three boys, and me). On the other side was another family, two daughters, the wife, and the husband. In the middle was a couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary. My family interacted. We talked, played games, and prayed for our food. The other family never spoke once or even looked at each other. The reason? All of them were too busy on their iPhones or iPods. They didn't even talk when the food arrived. After that family left, the couple in the middle turned to us and thanked us for showing them what a family should look like. I don't tell this story to toot my own horn. I just think it is a sad commentary that ordinary family interaction has become a thing of the past and that when it happens, it is seen as something extraordinary. I guess I would recommend to all families that they make it a rule to put away devices when it is family time. This goes a long way to helping families grow together.
  10. This comment has nothing to do with your question about resources, but the graphic at the top reminded me of an experience my family had. We were at a Japanese steakhouse, the kind where a number of people all sit at the same table. On one side was my family (my wife, our three boys, and me). On the other side was another family, two daughters, the wife, and the husband. In the middle was a couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary. My family interacted. We talked, played games, and prayed for our food. The other family never spoke once or even looked at each other. The reason? All of them were too busy on their iPhones or iPods. They didn't even talk when the food arrived. After that family left, the couple in the middle turned to us and thanked us for showing them what a family should look like. I don't tell this story to toot my own horn. I just think it is a sad commentary that ordinary family interaction has become a thing of the past and that when it happens, it is seen as something extraordinary. I guess I would recommend to all families that they make it a rule to put away devices when it is family time. This goes a long way to helping families grow together.
  11. I know I'm a bit late here, but I just joined the community this week. I would recommend "Reaching the Heart of Your Teen". This is by the makers of Growing Kids Gods Way, and I was very skeptical of this before I was able to participate in a class along side some of the parents of my teens. I honestly was impressed with their philosophy, candidness, and intentionality in including teenagers in the process of better parenting through rebuilding healthy relationships (who'd have thought). I recently had some parents come to me asking for help and resources, and I pointed them in this direction. While I haven't had any feedback yet, I will be interested to talk with them in the near future.
  12. I know I'm a bit late here, but I just joined the community this week. I would recommend "Reaching the Heart of Your Teen". This is by the makers of Growing Kids Gods Way, and I was very skeptical of this before I was able to participate in a class along side some of the parents of my teens. I honestly was impressed with their philosophy, candidness, and intentionality in including teenagers in the process of better parenting through rebuilding healthy relationships (who'd have thought). I recently had some parents come to me asking for help and resources, and I pointed them in this direction. While I haven't had any feedback yet, I will be interested to talk with them in the near future.

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