Here is our weekly post of tips for parents. Hope these will encourage you and help with your very difficult task of parenting teenagers in today's world! This week the topic is on music. Music has such a huge influence on our lives. Students these days have greater access to songs and artists than ever before. Take a look at some thoughts on technology from downloadyouthministry.com:
Here is our weekly post of tips for parents. Hope these will encourage you and help with your very difficult task of parenting teenagers in today's world! This week the topic is on technology. Truthfully it's hard to keep up. There's always something new just around the corner. Take a look at some thoughts on technology from downloadyouthministry.com:
Here is our weekly post of tips for parents. Hope these will encourage you and help with your very difficult task of parenting teenagers in today's world! This week the topic is on disciplining teenagers. Sometimes it's so tough to find the balance between rules and relationships in our homes. Take a look at some thoughts on discipline from downloadyouthministry.com:
Hey parents, my heart is for you. I know you've got a huge challenge in front of you of raising teenagers and I know it's not easy. I've discovered some great resources from downloadyouthministry.com that I hope will be a help to you. This is a series of Parenting Tips on topics that are right at the center of your students lives right now. I will post one each week for you to read and chew on. Feel free to comment, offer more suggestions or ideas on how you've handled these areas of your students lives or simply, or use it however you'd like. I hope that they will serve as an encouragement to you each week as you tackle the tough task of being the parent of a teenager in our world today.
I want to let you know about an upcoming series for our teenagers, which I believe is going to be life changing for those involved. The series begins tomorrow night, and it is based on the movie To Save A Life. The movie is about the real-life challenges of teens and their choices, and it can help raise awareness of what students go through. We will start by watching the movie with the students at FUEL. Because of the length of the film we will break it up into 2 parts. (Part 1 we will watch tomorrow & Part 2 will be the following week.)
In the To Save A Life series, we will deal with hard but very real issues like social acceptance, cutting, teen suicide, depression, and being Jesus’ hands and feet in a hurting world. Even though these are difficult topics, over the next few weeks the series will help your son or daughter become equipped to reach out to the hurting and lonely on their campuses and truly make a difference in their world. We hope you will ask your teen about their experiences each week, and be ready to listen to what they’re learning and how they’re being challenged.
Thanks so much,
ARTICLE BY: JEFF STRONG
It might be difficult for some parents to read through, but here’s a top ten list that I’ve been wanting to write for a while. Over the next several days I’ll be expanding on each of these in succession, but for now, here is my top ten mistakes Christian parents of teens make:
10. Not spending time with your teen.
A lot of parents make the mistake of not spending time with their teens because they assume their teens don’t want to spend time with them! While that’s true in some contexts, teens still want and need “chunks” of one-on-one time with parents. Despite the fact that teens are transitioning into more independence and often carry a “I don’t need/want you around” attitude, they are longing for the securing and grounding that comes from consistent quality time.
Going for walks together, grabbing a coffee in order to “catch up,” going to the movies together, etc., all all simple investments that teens secretly want and look forward to. When you don’t carve out time to spend with your teen, you’re communicating that you’re not interested in them, and they internalize that message, consciously or unconsciously.
9. Letting your teen’s activities take top priority for your family.
The number of parents who wrap their lives/schedules around their teen’s activities is mind-boggling to me. I honestly just don’t get it. I know many parents want to provide their children with experiences and opportunities they never had growing up, but something’s gone wrong with our understanding of family and parenting when our teen’s wants/”needs” are allowed to overwhelm the family’s day-to-day routines.
Parents need to prioritize investing in their relationship with God (individually and as a couple), themselves and each other, but sadly all of these are often neglected in the name of “helping the kids get ahead.” “Don’t let the youth sports cartel run your life,” says Jen singer, author of You’re A Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either). I can’t think of many good reasons why families can’t limit teens to one major sport/extra-curricular activity per season. Not only will a frenetic schedule slowly grind down your entire family of time, you’ll be teaching your teen that “the good life” is a hyper-active one. That doesn’t align itself to Jesus’ teaching as it relates to the healthy rhythms of prayer, Sabbath, and down-time, all of which are critical to the larger Christian task of “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
8. Spoiling your teen.
We are all tempted to think that loving our kids means doing all we can to ensure they have all the opportunities and things we didn’t have growing up. This is a terrible assumption to make. It leads to an enormous amount of self-important, petty, and ungrateful kids. A lot of the time parents are well-intentioned in our spoiling, but our continual stream of money and stuff causes teens to never be satisfied and always wanting more. Your teen doesn’t need another piece of crap, what he needs is time and attention from you (that’s one expression of spoiling that actually benefits your teen!).
There are two things that can really set you back in life if we get them too early:
a. Access to too much money.
b. Access to too many opportunities.
Parents need to recognize they’re doing their teens a disservice by spoiling them in either of these ways. Save the spoiling for the grandkids.
7. Permissive parenting.
“Whatever” — It’s not just for teens anymore! The devil-may-care ambivalence that once defined the teenage subculture has now taken root as parents shrug their shoulders, ask, “What can you do?” and let their teens “figure things out for themselves.” I think permissive parenting (i.e., providing little direction, limits, and consequences) is on the rise because many parents don’t know how to dialogue with and discipline their children. Maybe parents don’t have any limits of boundaries within their own life, so they don’t know how to communicate the value of these to their teen. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to, because their own self-esteem is too tied up in their child’s perception of them, and they couldn’t handle having their teen get angry at them for actually trying to parent. Maybe it’s because many parents feel so overwhelmed with their own issues, they can hardly think of pouring more energy into a (potentially) taxing struggle or point of contention.
Whatever the reason, permissive parenting is completely irreconcilable with a Christian worldview. I certainly do not advocate authoritarian parenting styles, but if we practice a permission parenting style we’re abdicating our God-given responsibility to provide guidance, nurture, limits, discipline and consequences to our teen (all of which actually help our teen flourish long-term).
6. Trying to be your teen’s best friend.
Your teen doesn’t need another friend (they have plenty); they need a parent. Even through their teens, your child needs a dependable, confident, godly authority figure in their life. As parents we are called to provide a relational context characterized by wisdom, protection, love, support, and empowerment. As Christian parents we’re called to bring God’s flourishing rule into our family’s life. That can’t happen if we’re busy trying to befriend our teen. Trying to be your teen’s friend actually cheats them out of having these things in their lives.
Sometimes parents think that a strong relationship with their teen means having a strong friendship—but there’s a fine line that shouldn’t be crossed. You should be friendly to your teen but you shouldn’t be your teen’s friend. They have lots of friends, they only have one or two parents—so be the parent your teen needs you to be.
5. Holding low expectations for your teen.
Johann Goethe once wrote, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat as man as he can and should be, and he become as he can and should be.” All of us rise to the unconcious level of expectation we set for ourselves and perceive from others. During the teenage years, it’s especially important to slowly put to death the perception that your teen is still “a kid.” They areemerging leaders, and if you engage them as such, you will find that over time, they unconsciously take on this mantle for themselves. Yes, your teen can be moody, self-absorbed, irresponsible, etc., but your teen can also be brilliant, creative, selfless, and mature. Treating them like “kids” will reinforce the former; treating them as emerging leaders will reinforce the latter.
For an example of how the this difference in perspective plays out, I’ve written an article entitled “The Future of an Illusion” which is available as a free download from www.meredisciple.com (in the Free Downloads section). It specifically looks at my commitment to be involved in “emerging church ministry” as opposed to “youth ministry,” and it you may find some principles within it helpful.
4. Not prioritizing youth group/church involvement.
This one is one of my personal pet peeves (but not just because this is my professional gig). I simply do not understand parents who expect and want their kids to have a dynamic, flourishing faith, and yet don’t move heaven and earth to get them connected to both a youth group and local church.
I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret: no teenager can thrive in their faith without these two support mechanisms. I’m not saying a strong youth group and church community is all they need, but what I am saying that you can have everything else you think your teen needs, but without these two things, don’t expect to have a spiritually healthy and mature teen. Maybe there are teens out there who defy this claim, but honestly, I can’t think of one out of my own experience. As a parent, youth group and church involvement should be a non-negotiable part of your teen’s life, and that means they take priority over homework (do it the night before), sports, or any other extra-curricular commitments.
Don’t be the parent who is soft on these two commitments, but pushes their kid in schooling, sports, etc. In general, what you sow into determines what you reap; if you want to reap a teenager who has a genuine, flourishing faith, don’t expect that to happen if you’re ok with their commitment to youth group/church to be casual and half-hearted.
3. Outsourcing your teen’s spiritual formation.
While youth group and church is very important, another mistake I see Christian parents make is assuming them can completely outsource the spiritual development of their child to these two things. I see the same pattern when it comes to Christian education: parents sometimes choose to send their children/teens to Christian schools, because by doing so they think they’ve done their parental duty to raise their child in a godly way.
As a parent–and especially if you are a Christian yourself–YOU are THE key spiritual role model and mentor for your teen. And that isn’t “if you want to be” either–that’s the way it is. Ultimately, you are charged with teaching and modelling to your teen what follow Jesus means, and while church, youth groups, Christian schools can be a support to that end, they are only that: support mechanisms.
Read Deuteronomy 6 for an overview of what God expects from parents as it relates to the spiritual nurture and development of their children. (Hint: it’s doesn’t say, “Hand them off to the youth pastor and bring them to church on Sunday.”)
2. Not expressing genuine love and like to your teen.
It’s sad that I have to write this one at all, but I’m convinced very few Christian parents actually express genuine love and “like” to their teen. It can become easy for parents to only see how their teen is irresponsible, failing, immature, etc., and become a harping voice instead of an encouraging, empowering one.
Do you intentially set aside time to tell your teen how much you love and admire them? Do you write letters of encouragement to them? Do you have “date nights” where you spend time together and share with them the things you see in them that you are proud of?
Your teen won’t ask you for it, so don’t wait for an invitation. Everyday say something encouraging to your teen that builds them up (they get enough criticism as it is!). Pray everyday for them and ask God to help you become one of the core people in your teen’s life that He uses to affirm them.
1. Expecting your teen to have a devotion to God that you are not
cultivating within yourself.
When I talk to Christian parents, it’s obvious that they want their teen to have a thriving, dynamic, genuine, life-giving faith. What isn’t so clear, however, is whether that parent has onethemselves. When it comes to the Christian faith, most of the time what we learn is caught and not taught. This means that even if you have the “right answers” as a parent, if you’re own spiritual walk with God is pathetic and stilted, your teen will unconciously follow suit. Every day you are teaching your teach (explicitely and implicitely) what discipleship to Jesus looks like “in the flesh.”
What are they catching from you? Are you cultivating a deep and mature relationship with God personally, or is your Christian parenting style a Christianized version of “do as I say, not as I do”?
While having a healthy and maturing discipleship walk as a parent does not garauntee your teen will follow in your footsteps, expecting your teen to have a maturing faith while you follow Jesus “from a distance” is an enormous mistake.
You are a Christian before you are a Christian parent (or any other role). Get real with God, share your own struggles and hypocrisy with your entire family, and maybe then God will begin to use your example in a positive and powerful way.
Hey parents, I wanted to come to you today to fill you in on some information regarding our upcoming event, the Winter Retreat. The dates of the Retreat are January 3-5, 2014.
When it comes to things that we do together as a youth ministry, the Winter Retreat is one of the best events on the calendar. For starters, every year we have seen students give their lives to Christ and saved during this event. It is also an opportunity for our group to get away from Sheridan, away from the routine, away from distractions and dive in to a time of teaching, worship and fellowship that is so needed for our students (and adults too). We do a lot of events with other youth ministries (Summer Camp, AYC, Elevate Weekend, CityReach, etc.) but this is one of the big events that is just for DRIVE Students and so we really have a time where our group comes together and we always leave closer to each other.
This year the Winter Retreat will be held at Budd Creek Camp in Greer's Ferry, AR. We have invited a good friend, Richard Alonzo to be our guest speaker. Richard is the youth pastor at Pauline Baptist in Monticello, AR. He was previously a youth pastor at Harmony in Prattsville, so many of our students are familiar with Richard. We know he will do a great job bringing God's Word to our group.
The theme this year is "IDENTITY." A few weeks ago our group had a night where we simply shared what was going on in our lives. Students and adults shared the good, the bad and the ugly of their world. One reoccurring theme that I heard in many of the students stories was that they were struggling with identity, self esteem, not fitting in, peer pressure, and much more. I believe these students need to know and be reminded that their identity comes through Jesus Christ. Not who this world says they are, but who God says they are. We want to see our students embracing their value in Christ and letting that shape who they are becoming.
We are also going to be doing something for the first time at our Winter Retreat. I have asked 5 college students who were former members of our youth ministry to come back and speak to our group. These students are Tiffany Easter, Roxanne Easter, Cody Walker, Cody Alderman & Carson Bray. Each of them have a very different college background and they will all bring something unique to the conversation. Many of them have stated to me a desire to come back and minister to our students. They want to tell them things that they should expect when college finally comes. They also have told me that they want to share with our students, "things that I wish I would have paid more attention to in middle school and high school." I think this will have a huge impact on our group to see former students investing in our current youth group.
The cost of the Winter Retreat is $60. This will cover their lodging, their meals, a t-shirt and help with other expenses. There will be a $20 deposit that is due on December 18th. (As always, please let us know if your student is in need of a scholarship. Not having the money to go, is NOT an excuse for our youth group).
As a youth pastor, I really hope you will encourage your student to join us for this year's Winter Retreat! You can sign up your student today by going tot the Winter Retreat page HERE!
(Blog post from Jim Liebelt at Homeward.com)
Here’s a primer for parents to provide helpful information and perspective to help you keep up to date with the use and trends in teen use of social media.
Teens and Social Media Use
The broad reach of teen social networking
According to Pew Internet & American Life Project’s “Report on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy,” released in May 2013, fully 95% of kids ages 12-17 use the Internet. Eighty-one percent of online teens use some form of social media. Sixty-seven percent of teen social media users visit social sites daily, and 42% visit several times a day.
Facebook is still the #1 social network for teens, but it’s fading
While 94% of teen social media users say they have a Facebook profile, and 81% say that Facebook is social site they use most often, it appears that Facebook’s teen appeal is fading. According to the Pew report, “Many teens expressed a waning enthusiasm for Facebook.” Teens complain of too many adults on the site, advertising, and too much drama interacting with friends.
Teen Twitter use is increasing significantly
Teens largely ignored Twitter when it first appeared and those who used it found it chiefly as a way to stay current with celebrities. In 2009, only 8% of teens used Twitter. Today, the number of teens using Twitter has increased to 24%.
Why teens are migrating to Twitter
The reasoning starts with fewer adults on Twitter than Facebook. While 67% of online adults have Facebook profiles, only 16% are on Twitter. Further, Twitter’s platform and character limit (140 characters) allows kids to express their thoughts, feelings, and what they are doing without the drama that Facebook’s platform of longer posts, endless comments, and “likes” allows.
Advice for parents who allow kids to use Facebook and Twitter
1. Set the expectation that you will friend (Facebook) or Follow (Twitter) your teenager on their social media account. This requires you to establish your own Facebook and Twitter accounts.
2. Facebook: Use profile privacy settings to limit who can access your teen’s content.
3. Twitter: Set Tweet privacy setting to “Protect my Tweets.” This requires your teen to approve everyone who follows them, and then only displays tweets to those who have been approved. Without taking this step, anyone can follow your teen, and all tweets are available to the public. Make sure your teen approves you as a follower.
Teens and Information Sharing
The Changing Landscape
Back in the days when social media was in its embryonic stage, the public’s fear of online predators—where perverts stalked children and teenagers in chat rooms—gave rise to a set of safety guidelines that included the nearly universal warning that kids should be taught to not share any personal information online. While that guideline still exists, as social media platforms have advanced, today it is advice largely ignored.
Today’s social media is based upon the premise of sharing personal information: who you are, your interests, what you think, who you are with, where you are, and what you are doing. Social media technology and platforms are constructed with this in mind. It’s part of social media’s DNA. To avoid sharing any personal information literally means not using social media.
Teens Growing Comfortable
As the social media landscape has changed, teens have grown more comfortable in sharing personal information. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project’s “Report on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy,” released in May 2013, since 2006, teens are more likely to share photos of themselves, school name, the city where they live, email address, and cell phone number via social media. While not measured in 2006, Pew found in 2012 that 92% of teens post their real name, 84% post their interests, 82% post their birth date, and 16% have their social media profile set to automatically include their location in posts.
Risk in Perspective
Stalkers and predators do exist (whether online or offline.) Identifying personal information is part of the predator’s DNA too. As such, social media use does include a measure of risk. But the notion that a stalker lurks behind every new friend or follow request has been sufficiently debunked. So the risk is fairly minimal and can be adequately managed.
Use Privacy Settings
Risk management means helping kids set adequate privacy settings on all social media platforms. Each social media provider will have a different method for privacy settings. The key is to guard against all profiles/posts being made accessible to the public. Kids should maintain a closed circle of friends/followers who cannot opt into their profile and posts without approval.
Picture and Video Apps
What they do: Allow users to take pictures, or capture video clips; to post online or share with friends; and to interact with recipients. Some apps provide editing tools for enhancing the pictures and videos with filters and text.
Devices Utilized: Smartphones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers.
Apps: There are literally hundreds of picture and video apps, but among the most popular are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Viddy, Socialcam, and built-in device camera and texting apps.
• Vine – Allows users to capture and post six-second video clips.
• Snapchat – Users can capture and share pictures or video clips, setting a maximum limit of 10 seconds where recipients can view them before they are removed from the recipient’s device and the Snapchat servers.
• Instagram video – Instagram updated its app in June to add video capture capability, allowing users to share up to 15-second video clips.
Why kids love them: Like other aspects of social media, kids enjoy connecting and interacting with friends, making new friends, and sharing thoughts and feelings through social media content. Picture apps allow kids more creativity and spontaneity in their self-expression, and the recent additions of video capability take this a step further.
Why parents should be concerned: Like all forms of digital media, once shared, it’s impossible to ensure control over the content. The potential always exists for kids who use these apps to use poor judgment and post inappropriate pictures and videos (including “sexts.”) Shapchat specifically can lead kids to a false sense of security believing that pictures and videos self-destruct, but savvy recipients can take “screenshots” of content before the content disappears.
How parents can safeguard their kids from misuse of picture and video apps:
1. Discuss social media with kids. Focus on both the positive and negative aspects of using picture and video apps, as well as the importance of protecting one’s reputation.
2. Set reasonable expectations and consequences for social media use, for limiting the sharing of personal information, and for which apps can be downloaded and used.
3. Set and use app or site profile privacy settings to limit content access.
4. Know what picture and video apps are on your child’s phone, tablet or computer.
Apps Teens Are Using
The pace of change in technology makes it difficult for parents to stay on top of what’s current. New social media apps come online regularly and the popularity of apps rise and fall like the tide. In our culture, it is wise for parents to keep up with the apps that our kids are using.
While no statistical measurement tool is available to date, youth culture observers point to the following apps (all are free) as the ones most popular with teens.
1. Facebook. It’s simply Facebook via app instead of using the FB website.
2. Pheed. Consider this an all-in-one social media app, combining text (a whopping 420 characters), photos, video, audio, and voice notes with no time limits.
3. Tumblr. A blogging platform app with social media features and feel. Users can post photos, video, links, and text, often grouped into collections based on themes or interests.
4. Instagram. Users capture and post photos and 15-second video clips. Special effect filters are popular for customization of content.
5. Vine. Users capture and share six-second video clips.
6. Snapchat. Allows users to capture and share photos or videos that are viewable for up to 10 seconds before they disappear and are removed from Snapchat servers.
7. Twitter. The app is similar to the Twitter website. Users can post text up to 140 characters. Posts can include links to web pages, pictures and video clips.
8. KikMessenger. A messaging app that allows users to share text, video, sketches, and pictures.
This Wednesday night we will be starting a brand new series called, "C4." Over the next month, we're going to look at some circumstances and misconceptions that threaten to blow up our pursuit of Authentic Faith. We will look at what many believe to believe things that God has promised us, but in reality He has not. As we do, we'll blow up our misconceptions of God and His promises so that we can move toward Authentic Faith.
Our goal for this series is for us to understand the truth of what we truly have in our relationship with God so that we can live in His freedom.
Every week, I plan on posting a more detailed overview of each lesson for you to understand what we are teaching your students. Here is a short overview of the entire series:
Week 1: God Promises a Compass, Not Clarity
Week 2: God Promises Conviction, Not Convenience
Week 3: God Promises Constancy, Not Consistency
Week 4: God Promises a Life that Counts, Not a Life of Comfort
Hoping to see God move, students transformed and eager to grow in their relationship with Christ!
Hey parents, we are excited about our 3rd annual ELEVATE WEEKEND which will be held in October this year! Every year this event has grown and we are looking forward to seeing what God will do during this time. We have several area churches who are getting involved with us. This is a way for us to encourage many students and remind them that they are not alone in serving Christ at their schools.
*The $25 cost will cover their lunch, dinner & Putt Putt on Saturday, Dinner on Sunday and help us pay the Speaker and Band.
Quick Overview of ELEVATE:
Friday night -
after the H.S. football game we will open up our gym for a Dodgeball Tournament and Worship Session 1. Head to Host Home @ midnight.
Wake up, Meet @ church for morning devotional, Community Service Projects, Lunch, Worship Session 2, Dinner & Putt Putt in Hot Springs. Back to Host Home around 10pm.
Sunday - Wake up and go to church, free afternoon, Worship Session 3 @ 6pm.
Here is where we NEED YOU...... If you would be willing to open up your house to be a HOST HOME for this event we would love to hear from you. We will need approximately 12 host homes this year. A host home is responsible for housing about 6-7 students (more if possible), feeding breakfast (cereal & pop tarts are fine, unless you want to cook!), and helping us transport students to and from the church. If you can help meet these needs, please go to our ELEVATE WEEKEND page and let us know asap! Thank you guys so much. I appreciate you parents so much!