Last week, we looked at 3 types of parents that you'll work with as a youth pastor. Starting today, we'll look at strategies for dealing with each type of parent. To begin, here are 7 strategies for working with helicopter parents, those parents who hover over their child, dangerously close, never letting them gain any age-appropriate independence.
1. Anticipate their questions. When planning an event, think like a helicopter parent. These are the parents who are prone to worry and as such, anticipating their questions and concerns will help you plan and execute your event well and reduce their worries.
2. Give them lots of information. Much of what drives helicopter parents is fear. To combat this fear, one of the best things you can do is preemptively disseminate information – especially information that addresses the questions and concerns you know they have. The more information helicopter parents have, the easier it will be for them to trust you with their teen.
3. Read information like a helicopter parent. Before you send an e-mail, text, or mailing, read through it through the lens of a helicopter parent. What red flags does the information raise? Taking time to address those red flags now will save you time and energy in the long haul.
4. Help them serve... In other ministries. Because of how involved they are in their teens lives, helicopter parents are typically some of the parents who are most invested in your church and ministry. However, their desire to hover over their own child typically makes it difficult for them to serve in youth ministry. So work with them to identify their gifts and find appropriate areas in your church to utilize them. If they must serve in youth ministry, find ways for them to do so behind the scenes, away from their own teen, who will likely clam up or act out if their parents are present. Additionally, always check with teens BEFORE inviting their parent to be involved in your ministry in any way. Doing so tells them that you have their back and that you care more about them than pleasing their parents.