Communicating Effectively With Parents

Two parents checking their emails on their living room couch

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’ve sent six emails, three text blasts, and four handouts home, and yet the day of the event, you have Jimmy’s mom calling you to ask where the event is and how much it costs and why you aren’t providing transportation from the church to the event location.

Been there?

Last week?

Me, too.

Communicating with parents can be stressful, difficult, and honestly pretty defeating. Shouting into the void is an extraordinarily frustrating task—especially when the void occasionally shouts back in an accusatory manner. But the gospel always points us in the right direction when we’re willing to wear it over our eyes like a pair of shades, so let’s dig in and see where how the Good News can become good news for us when it comes to communicating effectively with parents.

See the Holy Spirit understands what it is to speak consistently to the void. I know that because the Holy Spirit speaks into my deaf spirit all the time. In fact, in a recent conversation with God where I found myself complaining about life’s circumstances, the Holy Spirit very quietly pointed out that God has been trying to get my attention for a long time, and I’ve ignored Him because the “information” He was passing on to me didn’t feel pressing at the time. Only now, in the midst of a nightmarishly turbulent season of life, are the ears of my heart open to listen to what God has to say.

God is patiently persistent in His communication with us.

And if that were the only thing the gospel had for us on the topic, that’d be enough. We ought to be patiently persistent with parents in our communication with them because God is patiently persistent in His communication with us. But when we take this just another step further, it gets better. Because what the Holy Spirit also pointed out to me the other day as I tried to complain about life’s burdens is that His method for, more assertively, getting my attention, wasn’t for His benefit or to satisfy His wrath. After all, He doesn’t need to satisfy His wrath toward me. It’s already been satisfied on the cross.

His method for getting my attention was for my benefit. I’m better off because of the difficulties of life lately. Stronger. Filled with more grace. A better leader.

When God assertively gets our attention, it’s for our benefit, not His.


And that’s something some of us need to hear when it comes to communicating with parents. It makes sense that you get frustrated. I appreciate that you’re sometimes accused of poor communication when really they just aren’t paying attention. But the way you respond in those moments matters because you are to be a reflection of God’s treatment of us in the gospel, and God’s way of assertively getting our attention is for our benefit, not His.

So if you need to call mom and dad to ask them to read an email once in a while, that’s totally fine. Do so from a place of grace, and assume the best about their intentions, because your communication is for their benefit, not yours.

Is this the end-all-be-all of communicating effectively with parents? No. But you’re probably doing all of the X’s and O’s of this already, anyway. Text, email, handouts, social media. The tools haven’t changed that much over the past half decade. What really needs to change in this area is your heart. Your heart needs to be more aligned with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and when it is, you’ll find that you naturally communicate more effectively with parents.

Mike Haynes is a full-time youth pastor and the creator of G Shades Youth Ministry Curriculum. Feel free to reach out to Mike anytime over email at
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