Parental Engagement

Last evening I had the pleasure of visiting with some parents of middle schoolers. (If you haven’t had the pleasure of parent through that season you will love it – there is never a dull moment). We dug into the topic of parental engagement. As I reflected on the topic and my almost 30 years of partnering with parents and my own 18 years of parenting I came up with 5 levels of parental involvement/engagement in our kid’s lives.

  1. Missing – parents who are physically gone and have no contact with their child.
  2. Disengaged – parents who meet a child’s basic physical needs and nothing else. These parents are so busy, distracted, troubled, etc. that they are not really involved in their children’s lives.
  3. Selectively engaged/involved – surprisingly this is where a lot of parents land. These parents are extremely involved in one area of their child’s lives. This area might be academics, extracurricular (dance, football, basketball, etc.). These parents have selected one area (often an area of their passion) to engage with their kids. Unfortunately, all of the other areas of their children’s lives suffer from a lack of guidance/involvement. Typically, these parents are not involved in the spiritual formation of their kids.
  4. Fully engaged/involved – this is where we want to be. Fully engaged parents are intentional. These parents are appropriately engaged based on their children’s ages and maturity. Fully engaged Christian parents place a priority on their kids spiritual development. School, relationships, extracurricular, etc. are in the appropriate order in their families priorities. Being a fully engaged/involved parent is extremely challenging. Parents of Faith Promise, we want to partner with you on your parenting journey.
  5. Excessively involved – this category reflects the other extreme from disengaged. Excessively involved parents actually stunt the development of their kids through their over involvement. As our kids grow in wisdom and stature our parenting must be adjusted. Let’s be careful not to smother our kids, making all their decisions, correcting all their mistakes, etc. We want our kids to grow to be God honoring, independent adults.

Which type of parent are you?