Are You An Engaged Parent?

You’ve probably heard about all types of parenting styles. Some help children, while others hurt them. Unfortunately, many young people today are suffering because their parents aren’t truly engaged with them. Oh, they will swoop in and project manage their kids when they feel it’s necessary, but parents having a real relationship with their children is becoming increasingly rare.

Merely spending time at home with your kids is not necessarily the answer. You can be in the same room as your children for hours without any meaningful interaction. In fact, your children may feel more hurt because you aren’t even engaged with them when you are physically present. Your kids may feel as if you have a constant “Do not disturb” sign hung around your neck.

How do you know if you are truly engaged with your children or merely co-existing or project managing them? How would your kids answer these questions about your interactions with them?

  • When your child needs to get your attention, how long does it take you to notice and acknowledge them?
  • When your child has something important to share with you, how willing are you to put down whatever it is that your are doing and listen to them (fully)?
  • When your child is telling you a story or something that is important to them, do you actively listen by looking them in the eyes, making gestures and facial expressions that indicate your interest and asking appropriate questions?
  • Can you name your child’s friends and teachers?
  • Can you name several concerns your child has at the moment?
  • Do you know your child’s hopes for the near future?
  • Do you know your child’s dreams for the future?
  • Do you know what questions or doubts your child has about God, the Bible or Christianity?
  • Do you know how God has gifted your child to serve Him?
  • Do you know what one thing your child wishes you would do to help him or her navigate some aspect of his or her life?
  • Can you name one aspect of his or her spiritual life with which your child needs your help and guidance?

Why ask your child’s opinion of how you should answer these questions? Because often our perceptions of our behavior and attitudes are very different from that of the people we are impacting with our choices. You may think you are fully attentive, while your kids can’t remember the last time they felt as if they actually had your undivided attention.

So ask your kids to help you take this quiz. Then make any needed changes. Your kids need an engaged parent to help them grow to be the person God wants them to be.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

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