How to be a godly advocate for your child

Written by Jen Forsthoff
Published on September 13, 2022

The school year is in full swing. Sunny days at the beach and summer camps are behind us, and in the blink of an eye our babies are waking up early, heading off to school, and experiencing new things. 

In all the “new things,” our hope as parents is that our children continue to mature spiritually, relationally, emotionally and academically. Although, there are sure to be some bumps along the way. Whether your child needs to make new friends, adjust to a new classroom, or has a diagnosis that brings special challenges, these bumps require some brave parenting. And as parents, we want to defend our children, fight for them, and see them come through on the other side better and stronger than before. 

Why should I advocate?

As we love and support our kids in the days ahead, there is a call to advocate on their behalf. As Christian parents, we can choose to be godly advocates that help shape our children into the men or women God has called them to be. Our call to advocate greatly impacts their lives in the present and the future. 

Over the years, I have strived to become a godly advocate for my three children. While raising a child with special needs, along with my two other children who have their own specific obstacles to overcome, I continue to look to the Lord to shape me as a parent and allow his word and spirit to order my steps.

How should I advocate?

When it comes to advocacy, below are five foundational principles that will keep us moving in the right direction, both in honoring the Lord and producing the best results. 

Let Psalm 37:23-24 serve as a foundation for our advocacy, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fail, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” 

1. Check your heart

If you advocate for your child from a place of anger, bitterness, or offense, you may find that your attempts at advocacy fall short and don’t bring about the fruit you want. This can be easier said than done, but we have to discipline ourselves to stop and consider our heart’s condition and motivation. Check your heart before you write that email, have that conversation, or make that decision. We can always ask the Lord to help. If we want to advocate God’s way, we need to check our hearts and advocate from a place of surrender to him.   

2. Be an ally

Whether it’s a classroom teacher, an administrator, a coach, or a Sunday school teacher, we must see ourselves  as allies and not enemies. This is made easier after we have checked our hearts, collected our thoughts, and entered into these conversations with a yielded heart to the Lord. Be calm and respectful in your delivery and communicate in a way that honors God and speaks on your child’s behalf. Look to partner and problem solve with your child’s teacher, coach, etc. Share your concerns in a thoughtful way.  Seek to be understood, but also seek to understand the structure and systems in place that you are discussing. Be a parent who is an ally and you will find favor and make a greater impact for your child. 

3. Be on the offense

Godly advocacy doesn’t wait until things get messy and then jump in when situations are at their worst. Choose to be engaged from the beginning. Develop a relationship with your ally now. Be on the offense on your child’s behalf and if something is a concern to you, speak up sooner rather than later. Don’t let problems escalate. Ask the Lord for wisdom and perspective. It’s better to be on the offense now rather on the defense later when issues have developed into major problems.

4. Celebrate

A healthy part of advocacy is not just problem solving and focusing on the challenges, but also celebrating the good that you see! Make it a point to celebrate the victories your child is experiencing. Be intentional to communicate with your child’s teacher, coach, etc. what you appreciate about their classroom or program. Your grateful heart and kindness as a parent will likely inspire your ally to work even harder for your child. They will know that their efforts are being noticed and appreciated. Choose to celebrate and express appreciation whenever possible. 

5. Pray

Perhaps the most important piece to our advocacy as Christian parents is prayer. Choose to commit your child to prayer each day. Advocate for them through intercession. Get specific with your concerns, their needs, and what is on your heart. If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about. As you pray for your child, God will hear from heaven and respond. He is with them in their schools, with their friends, on their sports teams, and in their clubs. He fully knows them and works in the details of their lives. Commit yourself to being a praying parent and watch your advocacy move mountains for your child. 

As we journey through this school year with our kids, we can be the godly advocates they need. With the help and grace of God, we can watch our children continue to be shaped into the people God has called them to be… all for his glory. 


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Jen Forsthoff

Jen Forsthoff is the author of Chosen for Charlie: When God Gifts You With a Special- Needs Child and Champion For Charlie: Rise Up and Advocate For Your Child. Jen and her pastor-husband, Lucas, live in Michigan with their three children. Their oldest, Charlie, was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 at birth and has opened their eyes to the needs of families just like theirs. Raising Charlie, along with her experience as a classroom teacher and in ministry, has fueled Jen’s passion to positively impact families who face the challenge of parenting a child with special needs.  She writes, speaks, and advocates for families who need a message of hope and biblical truth to shape the everyday perspective of their role as the parent and champion for their child. In both ministry and educational platforms, Jen is a voice for parents raising a special-needs child. As God has opened doors through radio, television, community events/organizations, and ministry partnerships, she continues to bring a message of hope to families. You can connect with Jen at jenforsthoff.com and on Instagram @jforsthoff.

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