This week’s Parent Ministry University is full of Family Ministry ideas to help Parents know what to do when their kids question them.

It can be frustrating when kids begin to disagree with their parents, doubt their parents, or criticize their parent’s decisions, and beliefs.

As children’s ministers and youth ministers, we can help these parents understand how this is a normal part of the kid’s development.  Once it’s normalized, they are free to respond with a grace-filled approach that maintains relationship and gives their child the tools to build their own beliefs.

What are we gonna be talking about today at Parent Ministry University?

Well I wanted to talk a little bit about helping parents work through the push back that they get from their teenagers.

What do we do when we move from being our kid’s superhero, and start to transition as parents into

  • you don’t know as much as you used to
  • I don’t agree with everything you’re saying
  • I don’t like all the rules you put on me
  • I’m not sure that what you say is true is true?”

Parent’s sometimes freak out in that moment and they think, “Oh my goodness, my kid’s not going to share my beliefs. My kid doesn’t think of me like they used to.” 

It’s kind of a shock to our parenting ego and this transition is a struggle.

How can we help parents process this?

Well I’m going to give you a gift that my friend Mark Oestreicher gave me in a seminar over a decade ago and I’ve never forgotten it.

I’ve shared it with many people.

He said, as parents one of the things we do is give our children building blocks. Their default beliefs are given to them at an early age by us when we correct them.

When we say, “Hey no, little Johnny don’t do that,” and “Little Johnny good job for doing that.” We start to form in their mind and their heart and their soul this idea of what is right and what is wrong.

As a kid, what they do is build this tower. We’ve got this beautiful tower here that as children they build that’s kind of like their moral compass, their belief system, their view of right and wrong.

We’ve helped them construct it and it’s beautiful and we love it and we’re excited.

Then what happens is the brain starts to change. Puberty begins, and abstract thought starts to kick in. They have to start to figure out for themselves what is right and wrong. They take their beautiful “right and wrong belief system” that we’ve offered them and they destroy it.

In that moment we start to freak out, but we don’t have to.

The building blocks that we gave them are still here.  Our kid is taking those moral beliefs and they’re building it back now as their own.

The encouragement is they’re still using some of the same blocks we gave them.

What we need to do is stay calm, stay set in what we believe is right and wrong, what we believe is true, and continue encouraging them but give them space and give them room to question us.

Have good conversations, invest in relationships so there’s a great place for them to be able to talk and discuss with us, and slowly but surely watch them as they build their own little tower of beliefs.  This is an important, developmentally appropriate process that parents sometimes freak out about and they don’t have to.

It’s actually normal and we as ministers can help parents make it through this transition without so much stress.


If for some reason you missed last week’s Parent Ministry University, you go HERE to check it out!

Want to hear what some other folks have said about this subject?  Here’s some stuff we found on the topic…

How Kids Grow Spiritually

Expecting More Faith Ownership from our Students

Thoughts for Parents of Young Teens


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