As we establish neighborhood youth groups, it is important that we don’t forget the parents. I recently observed a community conference in Baltimore with 2 young people and their parents. The conference was scheduled to give the youth an opportunity to take responsibility for repairing the harm that was done by their actions. The youth had been arrested for breaking into and vandalizing a local elementary school. As the families discussed what happened, it came up that the ringleader of the break in was not even arrested.
One of the mothers stated that her son had called her and asked if he could go to basketball practice with a friend from school. She did not know the boy much less the parents. They ended up across town where her son wasn’t even familiar with his surroundings. After the arrest, the mother went to the home of the “friend” to talk to their mother but she wanted to have nothing to do with her. This 12 year boy who had never been in trouble with the law found himself in a situation that ultimately impacted his mother in unforeseen ways.
While this is an extreme situation, my point is that it is important that we know the parents of the friends our children are hanging out with. One of the goals of Positive Impact is to connect parents together so that they can support one another in raising their children. Parents become an important resource as the youth explore impacting their world in a positive way. When conflicts arise between the youth there is also a relationship between the families so that they can work together in solving it.