Have you ever had to wipe the tears from your child’s face after someone hurt their feelings? It breaks my mamas heart when someone has been mean to my kids. I want to make the pain go away and protect their heart from ever getting hurt again.
Something I’ve noticed as a mom to a teen is that once girls become friends with each other, they become fast friends; even best friends. They text each other non stop and want to hang out together all the time and have sleepovers. I enjoy watching my daughter have fun and goof off with her friends. Often, her friends find a special place in my heart, too.
But sometimes people aren’t always what they seem. One day they’re friends, and then the next day they’re gossiping about you on Facebook. How can this be?
Katie and Beth met through soccer and became fast friends after they discovered they had the same cleats, were both die-hard fans of One Direction and pepperoni and sausage pizza. They were inseparable, and were always at each other’s house. One day after school, Katie told Beth about a boy at school she had a crush on, and showed Beth what she had written about him in her diary. Katie went to use the bathroom and then Beth went home for dinner.
Later that night, Katie got on Facebook and felt sick to her stomach. There were pictures of her diary entries on Facebook! The things she shared in secret with Beth that afternoon were on Facebook for the whole school to see- including the boy she liked!
Katie started crying and yelled for her mom to come look at Facebook. Katie’s mom was shocked. Katie called Beth and asked her why she took pictures of her diary and posted them on Facebook. Beth started laughing and said it was meant to be a joke. Katie didn’t find it funny at all. This single incident that was supposedly meant to be a joke ruined Katie and Beth’s friendship.
How can we parents protect our kids from phony and fair-weathered friends?
1. Teach your kids how to use discernment: Most people aren’t born with discernment, but rather through life’s bitter lessons it has been learned. Tell your kids that first impressions and character reputations really do count. Whether they have a catch in their spirit about a person or not, advise them to ask the Lord to reveal anything about this person that might not make them a good friend. Share with your kids how the influence of their friends can effect how others perceive them, too.
2. Teach your kids how to guard their hearts: Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” It is vital that we teach our kids how to guard their hearts in all they do. The music they listen to, the movies they watch, the video games they play, and even the people they hang out with, seep into their hearts and cause either a positive or negative overflow.
3. Teach them to be patient: Healthy, long lasting and rewarding relationships take time. As exciting as it is to make a new friend, it’s important to take things slow and not share everything at once. After time it will become evident if a friend is best friend material.
Above all, cover your kids in prayer and be a good listener. Our kids don’t expect us to have all the answers, but knowing that we’re always there for them is a precious gift we can give them.
(Originally featured at The M.O.M. Initiative)