Hands on Help - Parents
group magazine: February, 1994
From: February 1994 GROUP Magazine
Keywords: Family Parents Lunch Valentine Alcohol Drugs Covenant
HANDS ON HELP
WORKING WITH PARENTS
Valentine's Day Dine Out
Have your kids plan a Valentine's Day Dine Out for their parents. Incorporate some of these ideas into the event:
*Decorate with red and white streamers and balloons. For placemats, cut 3-inch red construction paper hearts and glue them to the corners of white construction paper.
*Have kids cook and serve the meal. Pick an easy menu, such as spaghetti. It's not only easy to prepare, it's red!
*Have group members present prepared skits, songs, poems, or raps that affirm parents.
*Have kids each offer a goofy door prize for their parents, such as a hammer to a dad who fixes things well, or a box of Tinkertoys to a mom who likes to play.
*Ask group members to each write "top 10" things they appreciate about their parents. Have them give their parents their list.
*Have kids prepare their own valentine for their parents. Have them include a personal note of appreciation. Then have them give the valentines as a finale to the banquet.
*Include a time to tell parents why you appreciate them and how critical they are to your church's youth ministry.
Set a goal this year to take each youth group parent out to lunch. You'll strengthen relationships and gain a better understanding of your kids' parents.
Here are some suggestions to get the most out of each lunch.
*Agree beforehand to split the lunch's cost. If a parent wants to pick up the bill, then graciously accept the offer. If your youth budget can handle it, you pick up the bill!
*Offer to pick up a parent at his or her workplace. This gives you an opportunity to visit and see his or her work environment.
*Focus the discussion on the parent. Ask questions such as: How's work? How are things going in your relationship with your teenager? In what ways can I be supportive of your family and your teenager?
*Be creative in the restaurant you pick. During good weather, pick up food at a drive-through, then eat at a park!
*Affirm the parent and his or her teenager!
Roughing It Together
Improve your communication with parents by planning a "roughing it" adventure. Invite parents to help you plan an outing such as backpacking, mountain biking, snow skiing, camping, fishing, or hiking. Incredible things happen when you rough it together. Barriers are quickly dissolved and friendships are strengthened.
I worked with one dad who was hostile and critical about everything in the church. When he was out camping or fishing, however, he was a different person. During those adventures, I learned about the deep feelings that spawned his hostility. They were redemptive times.
Parents are concerned about the choices teenagers have to make-especially in the area of alcohol or drug usage. Help your kids and their parents air these concerns by creating Parent-Teenager Covenants.
Plan a parent-teenager meeting on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Contact a local counseling center. Ask them to provide a guest speaker and resources for the meeting.
First, meet with parents and kids together and listen to the speaker. Then separate parents and kids. Give each group a sheet of paper and a pencil. Have each group write a covenant that covers two areas:
1. What is considered a bad choice (for example, riding in a car driven by a drunk friend).
2. What consequences would occur if a teenager made a bad choice (for example, not being allowed to see the friend for one month).
Gather parents and kids, compare the two versions, and reach a compromise. Make copies of the covenant and give one to each family. Have all family members sign their covenant as a symbol of making responsible choices concerning alcohol and drugs.
Then have parents and kids follow this same process and
create a Teenager-Parent Covenant-complete with consequences that would occur if a parent abused alcohol or drugs!
Contributor: Mike Gillespie, Kansas
Copyrightę 1994 Group Publishing, Inc. / GROUP Magazine