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Growing With: Lead with Vulnerability

The topics and templates below are designed to help you create safe spaces for tweens, teens, or young adults to process important faith and life issues together with you. Check out the video below to learn more.


You may be used to leading at work with expertise or at home with authority. Tweens, teens, and young adults need a different type of leadership. Leading with vulnerability may be an entirely new skill to you, but it is necessary to break down walls and engage more deeply in topics our children are wrestling with. The topics and templates below are designed to help you create safe spaces for your tween, teen, or young adult to process these issues together with you.

The goal is not necessarily to answer every question. Admitting, “I don’t know” is actually a perfect way to model vulnerability and establish the environment for growth and connection that is the ultimate goal. So try these out during dinner, while driving somewhere, on a hike, or wherever else you feel comfortable.

Addressing Tough Topics

  • Prompt for Parent to Lead with Vulnerability

    Share about a season or two in your life when mental health was a concern for you or for someone you were close to. What did you do well? What did you learn? What would you do differently? How did it affect your faith?

    Other Stories, Verses or Data to Fuel Conversation

    1 in 3 adolescents struggle with some form of ongoing anxiety issues during adolescence. During the pandemic, anxiety issues tripled and depression quadrupled for people of all ages as we all experienced the trauma of having life shut down and being isolated in so many ways. People (even within the Church) sometimes blame mental health issues on flawed character or immorality. This is not helpful. Just as we wouldn’t degrade someone’s worth or character due to physical health issues like diabetes or asthma, we want to avoid making mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or ADHD seem like a spiritual or moral failure. Instead, we should aim to address them with appropriate treatment and care, just as we would a physical ailment.

    Questions to Invite Your Teen to Reflect and/or Share

    1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being awful and 10 being awesome, how do you feel about your mental health right now?
    2. How has the past year affected you physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Are there any ways you’d like some support from me?

    Additional Resources

    Faith in An Anxious World has created a 4-week curriculum, a parenting podcast, and various blogs all designed to help parents and youth leaders navigate adolescent mental health issues.

    The Highrock Mental Health Resources Page for links to mental health resources in the Boston area and beyond.

  • Parent Prompt to Lead with Vulnerability

    When have you had to deal with some type of trauma, disappointment, or pain in your life? What helped you through it (try to bring out any of the five practices below)? How did it challenge your faith? Are you able to see where it built a stronger, more resilient faith?

    Other Stories, Verses or Data to Fuel Conversation

    Definition of Resilience

    The capacity to spring back into shape after facing difficulties or hardship.

    Romans 5:1-5

    This passage speaks to how problems and trials can lead to a resilient faith.

    Characteristics of a resilient faith

    1. An identity built on a relationship with Jesus
    2. Cultural discernment that allows you to recognize the difference between life-giving truth and soul-crushing lies
    3. Intergenerational relationships that provide wisdom and community
    4. A commitment to living for God’s purposes, not just your own comfort

    Questions to Invite Teen to Reflect and/or Share:

    1. How have current or past disappointments, pain, or trauma affected your life?
    2. Consider the four characteristics of a resilient faith listed above. Which do you see as being helpful, lacking, or strongly present in your life?
    3. How have these characteristics, or could these characteristics, become more present or helpful moving forward?

    Additional Resources

    The book Faith for Exiles, and its accompanying e-courses, teach parents and leaders about the research and practices that help raise resilient disciples. Don’t have that kind of time? These Faith for Exiles podcast episodes summarize the Faith for Exiles research and practices.

  • We have lots of ideas for future discussion topics to help you lead your youth in vulnerability. Here are a few of the topics that we hope to expand on in the future – stay tuned!

    • Health – Physical, Emotional, Mental
    • Sexuality – Dating, Sex, LGBTQ+
    • Technology – Social Media, Porn, Movies, Music, Screen Time
    • Identity – Theology, Scripture, Prayer, Spiritual Practices
    • Belonging – Peers, Church, Encouragement
    • Purpose – Racism, Politics, Missions, Vocation

    If you have a topic you’d like some help talking about with your tween, teen or young adult, let us know and we’ll add it to our list. Contact Pastor Brian at



Contact Us

Looking for something different? Check out the Growing With our Tweens, Teens, & Young Adults resources for even more ideas.

If you have any additional questions or feedback, please feel free to contact our Family Ministry Administrator, Jill Swilling at