what makes teens happy? time with parents

a new, fairly extensive survey of teenagers reports that the top factor in teen happiness, rated by the teenagers themselves, is time with family. amazing.

a couple quotes from the article (the whole thing is worth reading):

Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.


Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

when i worked in a church (and had a role that involved programming for the youth ministry, as opposed to my no-less-important role now as a volunteer small group leader), our regular family ministry programming always had two goals, which i stated publically and often:
1. keep lines of communication open between parents and teens, and
2. create positive family memories.

youth workers, and churches in general, really need to take this survey to heart!

(ht to bob c and jonathan mckee, via email)

2 thoughts on “what makes teens happy? time with parents”

  1. my senior pastor and i always discuss ways to a support to families. while youth ministry is important, we need to make sure we are not one more thing keeping families from being together.

    in our church our youth even have their own section to sit in. i dont know if i am comfortable with that. if we say we support family, why do we always segregate ourselves for church functions?

    good survey.

  2. I think youth ministry is family ministry. Often the way to a parent is through their child who has been attending Sunday School or other church activities. It used to be the other way around – parents made sure their families went to church. Now, sadly, we have many parents who send their kids to church to get rid of them for a couple of hours.

    Probably 90 percent of the children who come to church are either dropped off by their parents who don’t want to stay for whatever reason or they are picked up by our bus ministry. They often sit together as a group during the first part of worship service. Then they go to their own service or junior church. Children who come with their parents often sit with their friends and not their family.

    So, how do we change these dynamics? How do we get parents to see that they are missing an important part of their child’s growth?

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