Preteens–Always the Afterthought?


So today we’re at Denver Children’s Hospital for some regular check-ups. It’s amazing!!!!! It’s brand new, beautiful, kid-oriented, friendly, and everything you’d want in a children’s hospital.

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Only thing, when we tried to enter the place to hang out between appointments (with big-screen movies, pool table, computers, and more) we were told that it was only for 13 and up. (I have a preteen and a teen! And, of course, I wouldn’t lie and say my 12-year-old was 13 even though he looks 13 and wanted me to, I might add.) So we left there and went to the Creative Play Area for children and found that it’s only for kids up to age 8. Yikes! I asked, "So what is there for kids 9 to 12?" Nothing.

To be honest, I felt a mixture of anger, frustration, and fatigue! And I don’t know what my recourse is so now I’m in the hospital library blogging about it. (Much to my daughter’s embarrassed chagrin.)

So why blog about it? Other than the catharsis of complaining to someone who might care? Simply, it just makes me think that preteens are always the last to be thought of and planned for. It’s true in this multi-multi-billion dollar hospital. Is it true in your church? The concierge just came and told me that they’re planning to do something for preteens (lot of good that does us today). So I’m still a frustrated mom. (Many apologies to my daughter who can’t believe I’d have the gall to complain in a place that is so noble and wonderful for families and children who are facing life-threatening issues.)

I’m sorry…I’m just hoping that the redemptive piece of this frustration is to challenge all of us to NOT put preteens last in your planning, programming, ministry. In the words of my preteen, it’s rude!

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About Author

Christine Yount Jones

Christine has more than 26 years of children’s ministry experience. She is the Executive Editor of Children’s Ministry Magazine, has authored many books and articles on children’s ministry, and serves as Group’s Children’s Ministry Champion. She’s responsible for development and innovation of new resources.

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