If you know a teenager, you may be familiar with the reality of how often peer interactions can create… drama. (Or, as my husband the high school teacher likes to say… dram-ma.)
At some level, drama is inevitable. Humans are made to be in relationship with each other. Since humans are imperfect, these relationships are also imperfect. This can send our brains into overdrive. Those experiencing puberty seem to be the hardest hit – hormones are flying, peers are suddenly much more important, and then… drama.
Summertime certainly has it’s own drama – sleepovers, vacations, Snapchat stories. But the start of the school year means fresh interactions with peers, and that can often mean… drama.
How do you manage the drama?
As a parent, know that you still do have a lot of say in your child’s friend group.
- Encourage positive friendships, and limit time with negative influences.
- Talk with your child about your family values and Scriptural directives for our attitudes and behaviors – not just the what but also the why.
- Know what’s going on and engage with them in their TV shows, technology, friends, self-image, and more.
- Ask: How much will this moment matter in five weeks, five months, five years?
As a teen, know that your friends don’t define you.
- They may say kind things or hurtful things, but in either direction it is a guarantee that at least some of it (and maybe all of it) is inaccurate or untrue. That’s just human life.
- Don’t confuse friendship and intimacy with gossip.
- Know that your online presence is not the only identity you have.
- Remember who you are, no matter who you’re with.
As a Christian, know that God is right there with you.
- He sees the same behaviors and actions we do – but unlike us, He can weigh the motives of someone’s heart.
- Turn to Him for comfort and wisdom.
- Yes, God created you for relationships, but first and foremost for a relationship with Him. Your identity is guarded in Jesus Christ, not in your friends or family or school.
We are praying at iHope for a wonderful start to the school year!
Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director