I’ve worked with teens for 30 years, in group homes and psychiatric hospitals, in youth ministries and as a teacher in several schools, and there is one social dynamic that always seems to rise within circles of friends-
It’s called teen drama.
Ah, teen drama.
There are all kinds of situations that can arise among teen social circles, and I’m guessing you can recall your own teen wonder years and reflect on some vivid teen drama memories too.
As parents, we can help our kids navigate these difficult and challenging circumstances, while also identifying those kids who may often be the instigator of such storms, positioning themselves at the center of it all. I call them the “Pot Stirrers”.
As my girl is finishing up middle school this year, I’m relieved to report she has remained in a very tight and small circle of friends that have had NO drama, or instigators of any kind. Whew! Lucky me- and lucky her.
But there’s still time. She has high school to contend with, and well…
I’d bet my pot of coffee, my girl will fall into some teen drama there.
I decided to write about my insights in working with teens and this dynamic in many social circles over on Parent.Co. In my article, I share specific characteristics of the “Pot Stirrers” and I offer advice on how we can better parent our kids in dealing with these difficult friendships. It’s a tough topic to address, but I believe it’s needed.
My hope is that we can arm our kids with awareness and equip them with the knowledge and understanding in how they can best take care of themselves and not get pulled into the dysfunction and sometimes destructive drama that may be quite dangerous for our kids and their well being. We need to keep vigilant in how our kids are communicating with their peers and be watchful in our own teen’s behavior. These teen years in middle school and high school (and even beyond) are where our kids are learning some valuable life lessons, and how to handle unhealthy friendships is surely one of them.
Join me over at Parent.Co HERE, and let me know your thoughts on the social issues kids face in the throes of adolescence and how you best manage it all. I’m sure many of us can identify these people in our adult lives as well, and the challenges we face in being their friend.
What??? Cassidy in high school? Well Des is starting kindergarten so our kids are growing up too fast. I definitely can’t wait to read this! My parents raise five teens and I don’t even know how. There has to be a lot of love and patience and compassion. Plus limits.
It’s crazy that my girl is going into High School and DES Kindergarten? I swear it’s flying by… Sigh. And I honestly don’t know how your parents did it. They are super heroes! I can’t even imagine FIVE teens. WOW.
You would bet your pot of coffee?! You’re that confident she’ll have drama hey?!
Great advice in recognizing (and loving) the pot stirrers. We’re called to love… and Christ’s love is the ultimate fix and does wonderful things if we let it work through us.
Wonderful, wise advice as usual Chris!
Ha! Sadly, yes. We can’t escape it! But you are so right- We are called to love as Christ loves- unconditionally and graciously, but with discernment too. I think having insight into such dynamics can be helpful to our girls so they can have a better understanding and make wise decisions accordingly.
Allie G smith says
Heading over ????. You’re so lucky Cassidy escaped the middle school drama!
Yeah, I sure am! Now let’s hope High School is no different! 🙂 Thanks for reading it, my friend!
Hi Chris! You really had to learn by going through it yourself, and that has made you so aware of this ‘pot stirring’ phenomena. I don’t know why, but some girls are just not happy unless there is some kind of drama going on.
My daughter always seemed to be the ‘negotiator’. She was usually positioned between two friends who were stirring it up between them. I guess I’m lucky that she wasn’t a part of the problem, but being involved at all is exhausing! I’m glad your daughter has such great friends and a busy swimming life.
Ah yes, the negotiator. I understand that all too well, Ceil. It’s really an important issue I think we need to address with our girls so they understand these dynamics that can be unhealthy and dangerous to their well being and their friendships in general. I appreciate you reading it, my friend.
Great post! One more reason I’m thankful I have boys. However, I still need advice when it comes to treading middle school waters with boys!
Thanks Stephanie, and yeah- boys can actually be stirred in the pot too! It’s just not as prolific, ya know? 🙂 You and I will have to swim those murky waters together and figure it out, my friend! Mine is entering middle school next year. YIKES!
Ifeoma Samuel says
Hmmm I hear you Chris….I have been caught in one of those or should I say several of those teen drama. And yes there will always be instigator. ..pot stirrers
Having worked with teens for years I know that it takes Godly wisdom, prayers and loads of reassuring words to keep the focus in sight
God bless and thanks for sharing
YES. You get it, Ifeoma! It can be so difficult for kids to manage and navigate through all the peer pressures and social circles these days. I think helping our kids understand these dynamics is critical to their health and the health of their relationships now and in the future. I really appreciate you read it and responding, my friend. <3