Home Youth Leaders Youth Leaders Blogs Helping Parents of Teens

Helping Parents of Teens

This week we have Dr. Jimmy Scroggins on campus as we do every January. Jimmy has forgotten more about student ministry than I know, so his insights help our students. Yesterday I took a little time to do a two-man panel with Jimmy in class. As is always the case, questions about parenting and relating to parents came up. As a dad of eight children Jimmy has plenty of insights there as well! I also just received an email asking for good books for parents, so I put out a request for recommended books on twitter and facebook. Here is a summary of the many responses I received via those means and through email (thanks all!).

Of course some mentioned (in case we assumed it) the Bible. As for the rest, I am qualifying or ranking them to some extent, not because I am an expert but because it is my blog! Note that I do not necessarily recommend all of these personally as some I have neither read nor in the case of some even heard of them.

The top authority cited (no surprise here) is Paul Tripp. His excellent book The Age of Opportunity received the most mentions. A close second is his Shepherding a Child’s Heart (while more for younger children it is still helpful for parents of youth). Both of these deal specifically with parenting issues.

Two books that help parents with a general perspective on children in the teen years were mentioned repeatedly:
Do Hard Things: by two older teens (the Harris twins)on expecting more from youth.
My book, Raising the Bar was mentioned by several, again a book more on perspective.
The Myth of Adolescence by my friend and colleague David Alan Black, which not unlike Raising the Bar argues for a higher view of the maturity level of youth.
I would add to these The Millennials by Thom and Jess Rainer.

Others I know to be helpful, some for specific issues and mentioned by various respondents:
Lost and Found
Revolutionary Parenting
Broken Down House
Give Them Grace
Generation Y
The Faithful Parent
Come Back, Barbara
Preparing Your Son/Daughter for Every Man’s/Woman’s Battle
The Last Christian Generation (Josh McDowell)
Parenting Isn’t for Cowards by Dobson
Peacemaking for Families
Bringing Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down
I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and I Gave Dating a Chance (two alternate views)

An interesting suggestion was The Art of War, a phenomenal book that I had not personally related to parenting.

Here are some I am quite frankly not as familiar with that received a mention:
Give Them Grace
King Me
Parenting Beyond your Capacity
The Plan of Your Life/Stephens
Gospel Powered Parenting
Get Outta My Face by Horne
An Expose on Teen Sex and Dating

Also mentioned were Wild at Heart and Captivating by John Eldredge. For me his works are a mixed bag of some helpful insights and some head-scratching thoughts, but reading them with discernment I found them to be useful.

And another noted the importance of being aware of what youth are reading today. If you are not familiar with The Hunger Games for instance, your student probably are. I have in fact scanned at least one of the Twilight books myself (not a fan personally).

A buddy from seminary apologized for being self-serving by mentioning something he wrote for his own son you can see at markcreech.com. Okay with me Mark, I promote my books on my blog!

I would suggest that you help parents by first instructing them from Scripture from such helpful passages as Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Then, help them to find one or two helpful books, one more general about youth and our times, and one more specific (like Tripp). Too many choices usually lead people to do nothing, so recommending a couple or three books is likely more helpful than listing twenty.

I would love to hear your thoughts, recommendations, and personal insights.

Previous articleNew Beginnings: Thoughts On Starting A Youth Group From Scratch
Next articleOne Of God’s Most Amazing Promises (Part 2)
Alvin L. Reid (born 1959) serves as Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he has been since 1995. He is also the founding Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism. Alvin and his wife Michelle have two children: Joshua, a senior at The College at Southeastern, and Hannah, a senior at Wake Forest Rolesville High School. Recently he became more focused at ministry in his local church by being named Young Professionals Director at Richland Creek Community Church. Alvin holds the M.Div and the Ph.D with a major in evangelism from Southwestern Seminary, and the B.A. from Samford University. He has spoken at a variety of conferences in almost every state and continent, and in over 2000 churches, colleges, conferences and events across the United States.