How do we stay connected with our children and teenagers in a post-modern world? Matt has some great examples and ideas so that you are a consistent and natural presence in your youths’ lives.
Welcome back to Beyond the Pew. My name is Matt Rice, and we’re continuing with our series on teens and technology. And while this video is going to be a bit about technology, it’s gonna be a kind of a play on the word of being plugged in.
Plugged into Daily Life
We want you to be plugged in with your child. We want you to be plugged in with your youth. And yes, some of this absolutely because of where we live or how we live these days is definitely connected to technology. A lot of it isn’t though. A lot of it is plugging in as a parent into their daily life, into their sports, into their school.
But first on the technology bit actually our photographer that’s here today, he said one of the things he does as a parent is he follows his kids on every single social media outlet that they’re on. And that’s a really good way for a parent to stay plugged in because sometimes your kids come home and you say how was your day and they won’t say a single word. But you hop on Instagram and you see a photo of them with a friend that you haven’t seen them with in a long time, and you can ask them, “Oh! Hey, how’s that friend doing?” Where you might not have had that conversation point at another time without that photo. So stay plugged into their social media accounts.
Your goal as a parent in a certain way is to help them grow up, to be productive adults that you enjoy to be around.
Honestly stay plugged into them with their video games. I know this is kind of dorky and maybe it’s because I like to play video games, but I think it’d be a lot of fun at least I think it would be, if you ask your kid, “Hey, what video game are you playing now? You want to teach me how to play it?” Because parents playing video games sometimes looks pretty silly, and I think the kids could have a lot of fun with that.
Sports & Activities
So stay plugged in with your kids in that way and other ways to stay plugged in with your kids is in their sports, going to their events. Of course I know that sounds like almost stupid to mention, but a lot of parents don’t realize how valuable that is, even if they’re sitting on the bench, even if they’re you know second string, being there and being present and again being their biggest fan connects you to them.
The Goal of Parenthood
So why is all this important? Why is being plugged into their life important? Your goal as a parent in a certain way is to help them grow up, to be productive adults that you enjoy to be around. That’s actually a definition that Trey Cashion and Stephanie Cashion over at the Mystery of Parenthood used when they talk about raising their kids. And if they want to raise kids that they enjoy being around as adults.
Another reason that you want to be plugged in with your kid and what’s going on in their life, is you want to be able to know who they are, so that you can sense changes because sometimes things will happen in their life that you don’t know what happened, whether it’s an abuse situation or if it’s bullying, and if you don’t know who they are as a person, if you don’t know their personality, it’s gonna be a lot harder for you to sense the change in them when they react to that. So as parents we want to love our kids as best we can, and the best way to do that is to stay plugged in their lives and know what’s going on in their life so you notice the changes in them, and you can address them as they come up.
But if you’re doing something with them, if you’re participating in something with them, then all the walls are down, and their life just comes out.
A Natural Place for Conversation
One of the reasons to stay plugged in with your kids and to do their hobbies with them, go to their sports with them, is that these become so natural, so normal that other conversations happen around them. So let’s say your kid loves to throw the frisbee or go play frisbee golf or is on a sports team, the ride to and from there becomes actually a natural place for conversation to happen. Or while you’re playing the sport, while you’re participating in whatever it is, conversation can naturally happen.
Sharing Your Lives
And it’s not an awkward, kind of forced conversation. You’re actually enjoying each other’s company, and at that same time, you’re sharing your lives with each other, and it’s in its natural state, because a lot of times, when you sit a kid down and ask them how their life’s going, they draw a blank just like we do. But if you’re doing something with them, if you’re participating in something with them, then all the walls are down, and their life just comes out.
Support Your Youth Ministers
Another way for parents to naturally stay plugged in with their kids is, and I hate to say it, no no I don’t hate to say it, this is the shameless plug for youth ministers all around the world, they need you. They need you to volunteer in their programs. And if you volunteer in the middle school program, the high school program, where your kid is, you can ask them not to be in their small group, that’s perfectly fine. But you get plugged into that age group, you know what’s going on in their lives, and you get to see what’s actually taught at the class because the kids aren’t gonna necessarily tell you when they get home. Other natural ways to get plugged in is volunteering to coach their sports teams, to assistant coach on those teams.
Our prayer from Beyond the Pew is that you do something concrete to invest in, to plug into the life of your young person, so that you get to know them and just love on them. God bless