As a youth worker and a parent, I can safely say: Helping parents understand and nurture their kids is a tremendous need. Just by helping parents of teenagers in your church, you can see abundant amounts of ministry occurring.
Recently, I was speaking to several hundred parents. I asked, “How many of you received healthy, value-centered sex education from your parents?” Just three people raised their hands. Then I shared something that youth workers know. “The more positive, value-centered sex education kids receive from their parents, the less promiscuous they’ll be.”
As I talked about American teenagers, most material came from my ministry experience. Doug Fields presented a three-week parenting series at Saddleback Church, combining his ministry and parenting expertise. Those were some of the best message I’ve ever heard. He spoke with authority, in part because he’s a youth worker.
No matter your experience level, you too can vitally influence families in your church! And if you don’t feel comfortable preaching, other ways exist for influencing and helping parents. One of the most effective is to host regular seminars. During these events at your church (or combined with other churches), you can provide great content, allow sharing, and, frankly, serve parents (and win!).
When helping parents, consider these avenues:
- You can study a topic yourself and deliver the content.
- You or a volunteer can facilitate a video-based parenting seminar or small-group experience.
- Use an expert in your area on a specific subject. (Bring in a doctor to talk about sexuality or the police to discuss drug use.)
- Hire someone or some group to put on top-notch parenting seminars. (More on those in a moment.)
Even non-Christian parents show interest in seminars that build their relationship with their kids. Remember: By helping parents and reaching the family, you reach the world.
Below are a dozen of my favorite topics for parenting seminars. Some are more spiritually oriented than others. But I don’t know any parent of teens who doesn’t need some help.
Helping Parents: Seminar Topics Sure to Be a Hit
- How to Help Your Kids Get a College Scholarship
- Drug-Proof Your Kids
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex and Sexuality
- Energizing Your Teenager’s Spiritual Life
- Building Healthy Morals and Values
- Understanding Youth Culture
- Kids and Families in Crisis
- Consistent Discipline
- Communicating With Your Kids
- Pre-Marriage or Marriage Seminar
- Building a Healthy Self-Image
- Teaching Kids How to Handle Finances
All these seminar topics are practical and needs-oriented. And the good news: If you don’t want to pay for specialists, you often can find local people or congregants to present these subjects.
However, if you want to bring in someone, here are some of my favorites.
Resources for Helping Parents
Strong Families in Stressful Times Seminars
John Trent is one of America’s finest seminar leaders on the family. Plus, I love his positive, practical message. (www.Strongfamilies.com)
Life Skills for American Families Seminars
Tim Smith offers very practical and excellent material for helping parents. His background is in youth ministry, and he’s written extensively on parenting. (www.parentscoach.org)
Traits of a Healthy Family Seminars
I may be partial, because these are HomeWord-created seminars. But as one of the speakers, I love how parents respond. Topics include Building Healthy Morals and Values as well as Energizing Your Family’s Spiritual Life. (www.HomeWord.com)
“Parenting Teens for Positive Results” Small-Group Video
This series I created for the church is mainly discussion-oriented. In each segment, I speak for about six minutes and also present a fun drama. Topics include:
- Attitude Is Everything
- Self-Image Struggles
- Communicating With Your Kids
- Navigating Sexuality
- Developing Media Discernment
- Helping Teenagers Grow Spiritually
You can order this video with a leaders guide and participant manuals here.
Previous generations didn’t have the outstanding resources for helping parents understand their teenagers. Today we can do so much for parents, with the help of other ministries.