A teen's peers can challenge your child to do better and grow, or they can hurt your kid through giving and taking away their friendship, bullying or even rebellious behavior. Here is how some parents have helped their teens through this difficult relational time:
Losing a Relationship
One of my daughter's best friends suddenly ended their friendship. Although my daughter didn't know the reason behind the loss, she wrote a letter of apology, seeking forgiveness and restoration. The letter went unacknowledged — the friendship was unsalvageable.
During my daughter's grief, I encouraged her to remember the good parts of the friendship and reminded her that friends must desire restoration for it to occur. I helped her process the stages of grief, as if a death had occurred, offering affirmation and encouragement.
Lynsey earned a lead in her high school play. During the first rehearsal, she discovered that her character would have an affair with a married man. Since adultery violates the Ten Commandments, Lynsey explained her convictions to the director and relinquished the role. Her peers ridiculed her decision.
Lynsey's father, Paul, stood by his daughter's decision and told her, "If you choose to follow Christ, you're going to risk being the unpopular person, but there may be a friend or two who later look back and remember your courage for Christ." On the play's closing night, one friend quietly told Lynsey, "I respect you. I was uncomfortable with this play but didn't have the nerve to say it."
Characteristics of a Toxic Friend
- Is possessive and jealous
- Puts other friends down
- Encourages secrecy and destructive behaviors
- Lacks a sense of give-and-take
- Discourages time with family
- Doesn't practice healthy conflict; fights dirty
What the Bible Says About Friendship
- 1 Corinthian 15:33
- Proverbs 13:20
- Proverbs 22:24-25
- John 15:13