Why We Must Reach Young Parents

Between 1960 and 1996, the proportion of all children under age 18 who were living with two married parents decreased steadily, from 85 to 68 percent. This share was stable during much of the late 1990s and into the 2000s, but by 2013 it had decreased to 64 percent. (Figure 1)
In 1960, the proportion of children living in mother-only families was eight percent, but by 1996 that proportion had tripled, to 24 percent. Since then, it has fluctuated between 22 and 24 percent, and was at 24 percent in 2013. Between 1990 and 2013, the share of children living in father-only families has fluctuated between three and five percent, and was at four percent in 2013. The proportion living without either parent (with either relatives
or with non-relatives) has remained steady, at approximately four percent. (Figure 1)
In 2013, six percent of all children lived in the home of their grandparents. In two-thirds of these families, one or both parents were also present. The proportion living with grandparents increased until the mid-1990s, from three to six percent of children. After remaining at around five percent until 2006, the proportion increased until 2011, but has since fallen slightly.
- See more at: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=family-structure#sthash.DpPSCrl6.dpuf
Young parents hold the future in their hands.  The children they are parenting will be the next generation of leaders.

If we want to influence the next generation for Christ then we must influence young parents.  They are the key shapers and molders of kids.  What you do on weekends is important, but it pales in comparison to the influence parents have with their kids during the week.

Shift your thinking from influencing kids to influencing parents and kids.  If you really want to make an impact on kids, then you must impact their parents as well.

Don't negate influencing parents to something that the adult ministry in your church will take care of.  Partner with adult ministry to influence parents.  Work with them to create strategies, classes, etc. that will speak into the lives of parents.  And be involved in those strategies.  Teach some of the classes...host some of the events...develop some of the programs.

Look for ways to connect with parents.  Place just as much importance on connecting with parents as you do kids.  Spend just as much time talking to parents at church as you do kids.

Remember...when you reach a child you change a life....when you reach a parent you change a whole family. 
In 2013, there were 3.1 million unmarried cohabiting couples with children under 18. This number has been steadily increasing: in 1996, it was 1.2 million. However, the number of all unmarried couples (with or without children) has increased even more during the same time period. (Figure 3)
In cohabiting couples with children, four in ten parents are between 25 and 34 years old, compared with less than a third of parents in married couples. A quarter of parents in cohabiting couples are between 35 and 44 years old, compared with four in ten parents in married couples. Among women in cohabiting couples, 18 percent have no high school diploma, and another 34 percent have no college-level education. Among mothers in married couples, nine percent have no high school diploma, and 22 percent have no college-level education.  In cohabiting couples with children, 61 percent of women, and 77 percent of men, were employed, compared with 65 and 90 percent of mothers and fathers, respectively, in married couples. In 11 percent of unmarried couples with children, neither person was employed in 2013, compared with only four percent among married couples with children.  (Appendix 3)
- See more at: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=family-structure#sthash.DpPSCrl6.dpuf