Parents Matter

the most

Whether you feel like it or not, you, as a parent, have the most influence on your student. I know it's hard to believe at times, but they are shaped by how we lead in and out of the home. Yes, they throw shade (give grief) about the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, and all the other mom/dad things we do to embarrass them, but they are quietly watching and craving the love we give them. Sunday School teachers, pastors, teachers, and coaches are great supporters in leading students in their faith; however, parents are foundational. It doesn't matter what stage you are at in the parenting game: pre-k, elementary, middle school, junior high, high school, or even college; it is never too early or late to start being the primary source of discipleship for your family. We know it's challenging and sometimes scary (especially in those awkward tweenage years), but know that we are here for your family and praying the Lord is honored in and through your family. Checkout the information below and see how you can apply these Biblical principles to your family.


Click Here to see our weekly Parent Follow-Up Letter. This letter is a direct follow-up for each Sunday's Youth Bible Study. It is designed to provide parents tools to help further disciple their student(s).

Finding Help As A

Parent Of Teens

(FebrUARY)

There have been many times that, as a parent of teenagers, I have been totally lost when it comes to knowing what to do. I have found myself deep into an argument with my daughter (that I likely started) or at a loss when it comes to motivating my son. I have gone down the wrong road over and over again, hoping that somehow something in my kids would change and we would find ourselves in a better place. Because of either my pride or laziness (or both), I have often defaulted to the “I’ll figure it out as I go” mentality. After all, I’m pretty good at solving problems and plotting out the next steps. Too many times, I’ve had to come to the harsh reality that this strategy rarely works, and it has rarely yielded the results I wanted.


I know I need help as a parent. I have often said, “These little guys and girls don’t come with instruction manuals, and they don’t stay little for long.” Things are constantly moving and changing, both in the hearts and minds of my teens and in the culture around them. I need to find ways to grow and learn as a parent if I’m going to both maintain my sanity and help my kids grow into the man and woman I pray they will become. If you can relate at all, I would encourage you to consider doing a few things that will help you be a better parent and help your family step into all that God has for you. 


 

Follow Trusted Voices: In the world of social media and “influencers” there actually are a lot of people out there who have good things to say. In a world of specialization, you can find people who are spending lots of time thinking through the specific characteristics of today’s teens and analyzing cultural and social trends. Many of these voices have practical and helpful suggestions, and they share them with the world regularly. You can find a way to get a regular dose of help and encouragement from people who know what they are talking about.


Listen To Parenting Podcasts: Speaking of voices, there are a lot of parenting podcasts that focus on things like navigating technology and social media, helping your kids learn finances, and working through anxiety and depression. Many of the trusted voices referenced above have a way to actually share their voice on a podcast, and they have great guests who give helpful insight. If you like to listen to other people talk and work out solutions, find a podcast that can help you become a better parent.


Read Parenting Books: There is definitely no shortage of Christian parenting books on the market today. New concepts and ideas are introduced each month, and old classics are still viable and helpful. Sometimes, taking the time to sit down with a book and digest the written word helps us take more time to process what we are learning. Grab a book that deals with a topic that is relevant to your parenting and set aside the time you need to read it. As you read, I would recommend having some paper and a pen handy so you can record any thoughts that come to mind as you reflect on how to become a better parent.


Find Blogs And Articles To Read: Speaking of reading, we don’t always have time to sit down and curl up with a good book. But we do often have short spurts of time when we can pick up an idea or a nugget. There are lots of great blog sites where leaders and pastors share articles that can help you as a parent. Again, find a few trusted voices who are consistent in their posting, and grab a few moments here and there to read a short article that speaks to your situation.


Talk To Other Parents (at your church?): There is often no better resource than the people we are around. Talking through issues and struggles with peers can often be just the medicine we need as we sort out what to do in a given situation. Hopefully, you have friends at church who you can talk to and honestly share with. Find ways to be in both formal groups and informal conversations with other parents who are either in the same season of life and parenting or just ahead of you. You can frequently find the wisdom and support you need from people who are going through (or have been through) some of the same things you have. These people can help you see things you might not see and offer the prayer support that you need.


 

Get Counseling If You Need It:  There have been moments in our parenting journey where we (and our kids) needed some more focused and expert help. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you need some clinical help, find it. Counseling can be incredibly helpful when you are stuck, and you know you cannot work through issues on your own. If you don’t know where to find a trusted counselor or if you feel like you can’t afford it, reach out to a pastor or leader at your church for help with the next steps. Becoming mentally healthier in the midst of family life is incredibly important, so seek out the guidance you need as you navigate your struggles.


When we run into something in life that we can’t handle or need more assistance with, we typically seek out some level of help or guidance. We do it at work. We do it in our finances. We do it in our relationships. Heck, we even do it in our hobbies. If we take some time to really think it through, we know that we should do it in our parenting. If we are going to be the parents God has called us to be, we need to be learning and growing, seeking to both understand our teens and how they think and understand the world and its influences that are coming their way. We need to be true disciples of Jesus, showing our teenagers what it looks like to follow God and live for Him each and every day. We need to admit that we need help in our parenting journey and then do everything we can to find it.


Making The Bible The

FOUNDATION OF FAITH

(January)

When it comes to helping your teenager develop spiritually and grow in their faith, what do you emphasize the most? Do you make them go to church? Do you push them to be involved in youth group? Are you helping them develop the habits they need to grow on their own and not have to rely on anyone else to have a vibrant faith? One of the most important things you can do for your teen as they continue on their spiritual journey is to help them feel comfortable with reading and studying the Bible. They likely spend a good amount of time listening to others talk about the Bible, but how much time do they spend reading it themselves, getting to know God through the pages of His word? As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to encourage and equip your teenager to make spending time in the Bible an important part of their normal, everyday life. You also have the opportunity to model to your teens what it looks like to read and study the Bible. They are watching you, and chances are that if they see you prioritize time in Scripture, they just might, too.


To watch this month’s Online Parenting Class video, click the link below.

A Creative Present to Give your Teenager

(December)

Adolescence is a season where your son or daughter is constantly changing. They can go Vegan one day to all-protein the next. This stage is developmentally appropriate, but as a parent, it may seem confusing.


One of the greatest gifts you can give your teenager is to study them. Even if they change from one minute to the next, you are still intentionally saying to them, “You matter.” We have some questions to use as examples. This short video will give you what you need to get started.


I hope your holiday is restful and filled with peace. If you have any questions or thoughts, please reach out.


Merry Christmas.

Walking with the Wise

(November)

One of the most important pieces of Scripture we can teach our teenagers is found in Proverbs 13:20, which says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” As adults, we know this to be true. If we surround ourselves with good people who are walking in a healthy and God-honoring direction, then we are more likely to do the same. Let me remind you so something I mentioned in my last email—The people whom your teenager chooses to be friends with, surround themselves with, and do life with will have a tremendous impact on the decisions they make, where they go in life, and how fulfilling their life will be. If we know that our teen’s choices in friends will have such a big impact on them, wouldn’t it make sense that we work really hard to help them navigate out this part of life? And what about you? Parenting is hard and often even exhausting. Do you have friendships and community that are holding you up and leading you to walk in a healthy and God-honoring direction?


And don’t forget to check out this month’s Online Parenting Class video, where we explain the importance of leaning in and paying attention to the friendships your teenagers are building. We will also share with you some ways that you can still leverage your influence as a parent to help your teens better navigate this crucial area of life.


Thank you for allowing us to partner with you as you lead your family. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at ccrouch@fbcmwtx.org

You Are The Primary Spiritual

Leader For Your Teenagers

(October)

So, you’re in the middle of this crazy time of life called “the teenage years.”  As your teen grows and matures, they will no doubt face various challenges and pressures that can shape their beliefs and values. During this phase of life, it’s essential for you, as their parents, to take an active role in leading your teens spiritually and instilling God-honoring values that will help them navigate through life’s ups and downs. This is not the time to check out or put your engagement on cruise control. You are the primary spiritual leader for your teen, and they desperately need you.


Remember, leading your teen spiritually is not about forcing them to adopt your beliefs but rather helping them develop their own faith as they seek to become more Christ-like. It’s a journey that requires patience, understanding, ongoing support, and a willingness to engage with them in spiritual conversations.


We know that can feel a little scary or intimidating at times. Spiritual discussions are intimate and, therefore, can feel a little bit awkward at first. You may feel nervous and scared, wondering how your teenager is going to react. Others might have tried something similar that didn’t work, so you want to be cautious. That’s why our desire is to come alongside you—to help you (not replace you) and to equip you with encouragement and the practical tools you need to lead your teenager in spiritual practices, conversations, and in growing to become more like Jesus.


These resources will place practical tools at your fingertips that you can use to lead spiritual exercises and conversations that will help your teenager grow in their faith and position you to be the primary spiritual leader for your family.


Helping Your Teens Navigate Life, Sports, And Spiritual Growth

(September)

Dear Parents,

As your kid(s) have moved into their teenage years, many of them have gotten more and more involved in sports. For you, that means your life and family calendar are probably filled with carting your teenager(s) around to practices, games, tournaments, and matches (or washing their stinky uniforms). Dirty laundry part aside, sports can be a lot of fun, but, if we’re honest, it can be exhausting and a bit dangerous as well. This is because, if you’re not careful, you can quickly cross a very dangerous and blurry line where sports become a place of unrealistic expectations, unnecessary pressures, misplaced identity, and living out your own dreams/perceived shortcomings through your teenager(s). Your teen’s sports and sports schedules can also quickly begin to dominate the family calendar. Your job as a parent is NOT to push your teenager(s) to be the best they can be in sports but to use sports as a vehicle to help them become the men or women God has created them to be. It can be a heck of a journey, but if you are able to keep it all in perspective, sports can be a place where your teen(s) grow in their faith and live that faith out in incredible ways.


As your Youth Ministry leaders, we want to come alongside you, equip you, and minister to you and your family as your teenager(s) engage in sports. So, make sure that you check out this resource we have for you that is entitled Huddle Up. These resources will give you an opportunity to have a little fun with your teen(s) as you talk together about the role sports play in your family’s life, how faith can integrate with sports, and encourage your teenager(s) to grow in their faith through sports while also living out that faith on the field of competition.


Here is a wonderful blog/article that helps to shed light on the opportunities that we have when involved in sport as believers.


In addition, I stumbled across this article called Sports and Christian Discipleship, while working on my graduate degree, several years ago. I have shared this article with many of kids coaches and player parents over the years. I have even had my own kids read it to better understand my approach to sports as a parent. I highly recommend spending time reading this article. 


To watch this month’s Online Parenting Class video, click the link below.