Teenagers are looking for acceptance and some normalcy and stability in their ever-changing lives. They often find this in peer friendships. While you may have been their closest companion when they were younger, teenagers often begin to share more and more of their lives with friends. That’s OK! We’re supposed to be parents not buddies, right? This is also part of the independence process.
Along with deepening friendships come positives and possible negatives. First of all, there’s peer pressure. With good friends the pressure will be to join in good activities; with bad friends the wrong influences of the world. Learning how to get along with and enjoy different people outside your family is a life-long skill. Appreciating what they have and the benefits of a Christian home are lessons they may learn as they see first hand what life is like in other families.
Getting to know your teenager’s friends will open a window into their lives and help you better understand the peer pressures and influences around them. It may also help you show more grace, mercy, love, (etc.) as you see that your kid is not actually the best/worst child in the world. Be careful not to pass judgment too quickly on friends you don’t really know. Your teen will get defensive and you may not have the whole picture. Some friendships will end poorly leaving your child wounded and hurt. Love them, help them heal and process the experiences to learn for the future. Responding with Christ-like wisdom, direction, and boundaries will give you many more discipleship moments.
Another benefit is that you may gain opportunities to positively influence your teen’s friends too. Continue to follow the most important rule of communication: Listen first and listen well!
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24 (ESV)
in HIS service,
P.S. The blog titles and main ideas come from Walt Mueller’s book “99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers”. I personalize and modify the message, and also add Scripture.
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