This month’s online parenting class tackles a very sensitive subject for parents: Bad Friends. Teens are profoundly impacted by friendships. Who they hang around with can be wonderful and propel them forward in a positive, life-giving way. But what do you do when your teenager’s friends appear to be dragging them down? What do you do when it appears your teen is connected with certain red flag relationships that are spiraling in a negative direction?
This month’s video will help you as a parent deal with similar situations if they arise.
The book of Proverbs encourages us to guard against dangerous relationships: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” Prov. 22:24-25.
However, as much as you may want to forcibly intervene and insist your teen cut off friendships that negatively influence them, a head-on approach will most likely propel your teenager deeper into these friendships. Worse than that, this approach could very well develop deep-seated resentment against you. Your teen may pull away, and refuse to listen to you and side with their friend(s).
What is more important than you making your teen change their friendships is to give them tools to identify for themselves the need for a friendship change. Come alongside your teenager and initiate a general conversation about friends. Ask your teen if they think certain influences are helping or hurting. This type of conversation may be more beneficial than trying to tell your teen to distance themselves from certain people.
Most friendships are not developed overnight and they will not be over that quickly either. Seek God’s help; ask for patience to walk through this season with your teenager in a way that loves but does not insist in getting its way.
I hope this lesson equipped you to help your child with volatile friendships.