Parents: The Final Authority
By Rick Bundschuh • Kauai Christian Fellowship • Koloa, Hawaii
This is an excerpt from Rick’s incredible book, Surviving Middle School. The book is written for kids about to enter middle school and covers all the hot-button issues that kids need to know about. This excerpt is from the chapter titled “Dealing With Authorities.” Get a copy of the book FREE (that includes a music playlist of hot Christian tunes that your pre-middle schoolers will love) when you join Youth Leaders Only!
Of all the authorities in your middle school life, your parents are still the ones with major influence. Their hats are whiter-than-white.
Sometimes parents have a hard time when their kids go into middle school. They feel that they are losing the ability to direct and control the events in their kids’ lives as they once did. To add to this confusion, many middle school kids seek more and more independence from their parents. They want to be individuals and make their own decisions, decisions that may sometimes go against their parents’ wishes.
As time goes on, you may find yourself getting into domestic squabbles with your parents. The rocky spots might arise from just about anything: clothes, hairstyles, makeup, time spent on the phone or computer, chores, grades, friends—you name it.
If you know what actions and attitudes that parents are looking for, you have an advantage with this “prime authority” in your life. Most parents are very reasonable and will grant you more and more liberty if you show them you are in control. Here are some attitudes and actions that parents want to see before they will lengthen your leash.
Parents need to see that you are not a flaky kid. This means that you need to do your chores without being told and clean up the messes you make without waiting for the “maid” to do it. Do a good job on your chores or projects instead of trying to get by with the least amount of effort. For example, if your job is to sweep the garage or driveway, move stuff and don’t just sweep around it. Get in the corners and pick up the debris with a dustpan instead of blasting it into the neighbor’s yard.
Responsibility means carrying your weight and not being a burden on someone else. It means being on time, or at the very least having the courtesy to call if there is some reason you will be late. And responsibility is showing wisdom by avoiding bad situations or doing stupid things like shooting the pesky neighbor kid with your Airsoft gun.
This is one of the “Parents/Family” Feature Articles from the latest edition of Youth Leaders Only. Click here to join now and get all of the articles plus tons of music/media-based resources for your youth ministry! And a FREE Copy of the Surviving Middle School Book!
Parents want to know what you are thinking and feeling. They need you to give them more than one-syllable responses to their questions. They really do need you to ask their advice from time to time instead of just asking for money.
Like everyone else, parents need to be told that they are loved. Be sure to tell them often. Don’t think that telling them you love them shows weakness or is a corny thing to do.
Make Your Parents Proud Of You
Would your folks be proud of you if they knew everything that you’re doing? Make that your goal. If you find yourself hiding your activities consistently and hoping your parents won’t find out, you are probably into some pretty sad stuff. And you know that God may not be too happy with how you are conducting your life, either.
Obedience isn’t always easy, but you need to listen to your parents and obey them even when you don’t want to. When a kid starts to rebel, many parents just tighten the screws. When a kid obeys, they let up. It’s that easy.
Some kids complain that if they did everything their parents asked them to do, they would end up with no life at all. That is rarely the case. Most parents simply need to see that you still know who’s the boss.
A major gripe of most parents is that kids are ungrateful little creeps. From my perspective as a longtime youthworker, I have to say that this is a valid complaint. Kids rarely take the little bit of effort required to tell their parents how much they appreciate what has been done for them. Just a few kind words make all the difference in the world.
Suppose some friend wants you to feed her every time she comes to your house. If she never said, “Thank you” when you rounded up a plate of goodies for her, but instead just dug right in, how would you feel? Or suppose a friend wants you to lend him money or buy him stuff when you go to the mall because he keeps forgetting his money at home? Imagine that the whole time this was going on, the most thanks you ever got was something mumbled under his or her breath. Before long you will feel used big time by this so-called friend. You never hear an expression of gratitude, merely of expectation.
Parents don’t like feeling used, either. They give, not because it’s expected, but because they love. You’ll be miles ahead if you show them you are thankful!