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0:00:37 – Speaker 1
I was recently talking to a mom who has a middle school daughter and Kim. she was like help, oh my gosh, there’s so much friendship drama going on right now.
0:00:47 – Speaker 2
Oh yeah, that is a common theme for a sixth, seventh grade, for sure.
0:00:51 – Speaker 1
Well, you know, my daughter is 18 and a senior, but immediately I went back to middle school and really seventh grade.
0:00:58 – Speaker 2
I remember it was so much, it was so much that I remember it for your child.
0:01:05 – Speaker 1
I was texting you every day like what in the world? You know it’s something happens in middle school, i think it’s. You know, often you have two schools merging and you get on a different class schedule and different activities start happening, you know, and all of a sudden these friendships that you’ve had all through elementary school, they start to change and shift And then there’s all this drama. I think also, kids start making different decisions and going down different paths And then the middle school brain doesn’t know how to cope with that. And it’s just all the things.
0:01:39 – Speaker 2
It is. You know, i remember this pediatrician telling me when my kids were little that kids play next to each other. When they’re small They don’t actually play with each other. That develops slowly over time And he said and then it comes to this pinnacle in middle school where they realize I don’t know if I really even like you. I was like okay, and he’s like so, prepare yourself for that. And he said but it’s good, because that’s exactly the time where they have different classes, different sports, different opportunities to really figure out who they are. And if at home you’re guiding those conversations, it can be a really difficult time, but a good time for them to really find their people.
0:02:17 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. And you know I don’t want to be sexist here, but I have a middle school boy right now too. You know he’s eighth grade And I will tell you it’s just different. It’s different with boys and girls, and I know I’m speaking in generalities here. It’s not always 100% the case. But, like my boy, when he has conflict or drama with his friends, like they will, sometimes they’ll cuss at each other and you know they’ll get in there and there will be drama or you mean things have been said or whatever. But it’s almost like then they cool down And the next day they’re like, oh man, sorry, And then it’s fine. They move on.
Nobody holds a grudge, but the girls. When I walked my little child through, it’s my little daughter. I mean the grudges that have been held for years, like she said this to me in sixth grade and now they’re senior. You’re not like what, What, I don’t know. It’s a different dynamic And I know that as being speaking in generalities and being a little sexist, But from my observation, that’s what I’ve seen in my home.
0:03:19 – Speaker 2
No, I hear you, i think, in general, in general a lot of times, from everything friendships to stress to all that kind of stuff even the safe place that we create with our kids looks different with girls and boys sometimes. So I think that that’s fair to say and good to recognize, because what may work with your seventh grade boy, it might look totally different when your seventh grade girl comes up and you’re like, oh, this is like a whole new world. So that’s good to prepare yourself mentally.
0:03:48 – Speaker 1
Absolutely So. I kind of want to talk through what I talked through with this mom, because she was really struggling to figure it out and she was really stressed. One of the first things I said to her was I’m really glad you’re giving this the attention it deserves, because we see time and time again that our friendships really do impact us. You know, proverbs 1320 says walk with the wise and become wise. associate with fools and get into trouble. I mean, that is just a verse we say all the time around my home. Oh yeah, you know, choose your friends wisely. I’ve also heard people say you become like the five people you hang out with the most Quite. honestly, i see that in my own life. That is 100% true. That’s going through this friendship drama with your kids. You know, don’t dismiss it. There’s some teachable moments in there. Don’t walk away from it because it’s hard. I mean this is an important conversation with your kids about how they’re picking and choosing their friends.
0:04:47 – Speaker 2
Absolutely. It is really important And it’s important to dig in there and start the conversations even before you start seeing the drama, just talking to them about what makes a good friend. Like, what are you looking for? How can you be a good friend? I think that’s really important. Pre-conversations before the changes begin.
0:05:04 – Speaker 1
One of the things this mama said to me was she’s having trouble finding anyone who has the same beliefs and is wanting to walk down the same path as she does, because there’s lots of bad decisions being made, and right away, i could just feel this judgment cloud hanging over this right, and I kind of want to preface everything we say with this. Your kids do need to be picky about choosing their friends. I mean, that is super important, but at the same time, we also need to remind our kids that there is no perfect person. There’s not going to be a perfect friend. You’re going to have friends that they do make mistakes, they do misspeak.
What you’re looking for, though, is the heart there, so when they’re harsh to you or they’re mean to you, or maybe you get into a fight or whatever, is the heart to make it right. Can we make amends, can we talk through this, can we have the difficult conversation That may be a friend worth fighting for, right? So just reminding your kids there’s not going to be a perfect friend. I think that’s critical in this conversation, because sometimes they hear pick your friends wisely, and then all their friends are making bad decisions And so they’re like there’s nobody, and we have to remind them that we’re just as bad. We have faults as well.
0:06:19 – Speaker 2
That is one of the things we say a lot is your friends are going to mess up. I mean, you mess up too We all do, and so we kind of talk about friendship in circles. You need to find that person who is most aligned with you. They’re still going to mess up. They’re still going to have flaws and weird quirks and maybe their hairs whackadoo, but whatever it is, there’s going to be that one person that you are most aligned with And that’s your inner circle one. That’s what we call it in our household. Outside of that, you have the different rings of friendships and how close they are and how you interact with them and what you let them in on And what part of your life you let them be a part of, and those people may be making a lot of bad decisions, but it’s an opportunity to pour into them. Or maybe you play sports only with that person, and that creates those great conversations about putting up boundaries and fences around different types of friendships.
0:07:13 – Speaker 1
Well, and you said something when you were speaking, kim, which it reminded me when I was walking through the friendship drama with my kid in middle school so many years ago. I remember you texting me saying let’s just pray for one. Let’s pray she finds one that she feels comfortable with. You know having as an inner circle friend right now, and that may change over time but let’s just pray for one, and I think so many times.
As parents, we want a whole big group and we want all of everybody to get along well, but maybe our expectations need to be just scaled down a little bit Like, and let’s pray for the one.
0:07:52 – Speaker 2
I have really appreciate my husband actually, who at the time was in administration in middle school. He would say that to us all the time, like as our kids were getting older, like pray for the one, you just need one. And he said that a lot to middle schoolers because that is an awkward time where a lot of kids are trying to figure things out. So that was always his encouragement And it has helped us with telling our kids that too.
0:08:14 – Speaker 1
Well, and also I hate to sound cliche, but why. We’re talking about pray, you know. Pray for your kids to find their people. Pray for your kids to find the right group. The other thing I told this mom was she needs friends at school, but she also needs friends separate, like in a youth group. The more different kinds of groups of friends you can have, the better. And this is what I found on this journey, because, say, there’s drama at the school with the friend group, then they have that reliance of oh I have a different set of friends at youth group that I can talk to, or when there’s drama at youth group, the opposite, you know. So the more different kinds of friends that you can have in different settings would be good to we’re just, we don’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket, kind of thing.
0:08:57 – Speaker 2
Yeah, yeah, totally. That kind of reminds me again of that second tier of friendships where they maybe you don’t get along with everything and maybe you are different, but you can enjoy playing sports with them or doing theater with them or going to youth group with them And they can be someone you can talk to and rely on when your other friends are maybe just acting a fool.
0:09:17 – Speaker 1
One of the other things, too, that I talked to this mom about, and this is something that I started talking to my kid about in high school, and I wish I would have started this in middle school, but actually it just God didn’t give it to me until high school. We just had this moment, one time, where my kid and I were talking through a friendship situation when she was in high school, and God just gave me this clear picture of what to tell her, and it really made an impact on her. One of the things I said to her was she was getting frustrated with one of her close friends and she said you know, every time we spend time together, it’s just all about her. Like, i never get to talk about what I’m struggling with, and you know she was venting to me about that, and I said well, babe, you know, i learned something later in life that I wish I would have known when I was your age, and that is you have to differentiate between a one way and a two way friendship.
And so what I explained to her was you know, a one way friendship is basically the other person. Maybe because of something they’re struggling with or that’s happening in their life. They don’t have time to pour into you. So they’re just coming to you, coming to that friendship, and they just want you to pour into them, pour into them, pour into them, but you’re not going to get anything in return, because they’re just drowning, they’re trying to survive, they’re in survival mode. So those are one way friendships And sometimes, right now, your friend that you’re describing to me, it’s become a one way friendship. Now, when your friend gets healthy and gets back on track, it may become a two way friendship again, but right now you have to recognize that you can’t have expectations that she’s going to pour into you like you’re pouring into her as a friend.
0:11:00 – Speaker 2
Right. So helpful not, like you said, not just for kids, but you had said you wished you had learned that you know younger. That’s just a helpful thing to know. As an adult too, it’s the same way, right.
0:11:13 – Speaker 1
When I started looking at my friends and saying, okay, this is a one way friendship, my expectation of that person, like I wasn’t upset with them anymore, when I couldn’t talk about my feelings or my problems because I was like they’re just trying to survive and they just need me. But I also told my daughter, like you need to have a two way friendship, you need somebody pouring into you. So you need to look for those people, whether it’s a youth group, you know, in your school, whatever it is, you need somebody pouring into you. And this person is very critical that they have the same beliefs as you, because they’re going to be giving you advice and being directing you. And so, again, like you described, kim, this inner circle this is almost like the bullseye right in the very middle of this circle that you’re describing is you have to be very picky about this person, but you also have to understand they’re not going to be perfect.
0:12:08 – Speaker 2
There’s a couple things that you said that were really good, mandy, and it just reminded me that even that friendship, that one that’s in the middle of the bullseye, if we’re thinking of it that way, sometimes even that one will become more of a one way friendship for a season, once you’ve developed and realized this is my person. it’s also important to have grace in the different changes that will happen. when they’re struggling with something or going through something unexpected, you may have to just be the bucket to hold all the vomit and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean suddenly they’re not your one person. It will shift back and forth, but as long as for the, for the majority of what your friendship looks like, it’s a two way friendship or two way street, then that’s really healthy, that’s really important and just vital that you have.
The other thing you said, which is a word that is so important in relationships, is expectations. This is where I think for parents it’s so important to have these conversations is helping your kids have reasonable and clear expectations about relationships, because once you identify, okay, this might be a one way friendship. what does that look like? because your kids are probably young and in middle school that’s still kind of muddy for them. It’s helpful if mom or dad comes alongside and said here’s some things that’ll probably happen in this friendship to prepare your kid for, so that they’re not continually hurt or feeling taken advantage of. In our house we shift it to more of a ministry perspective. This person is someone I want to minister to by letting them pour out their heart or walk through struggles, and I know that it’s not going to be both ways.
0:13:48 – Speaker 1
Yeah, that’s great. I you know, as you were speaking, kim, i was thinking about our friendship, you know, and it’s our friendship is very rare and unique and it’s I feel like it’s taken me, you know, until my adult life to find it right.
Same yeah, and that’s one of the things that I tell my kids often too. I’ve had a lot of close friends come and go in different seasons, but you know, now I feel like I’ve found my one life friend. You know that it right and not until we’re 85, girl. But you know, telling my, my kids, this is a process And as you go to school, go off to college, your friends will change. As you get married, your friends will change. As you become a parent, your friends will change, and that’s okay.
One of the things too, i think in the bigger conversation is don’t expect a friend to do what only God can do for you. Oh, that’s good. And, and honestly, don’t expect a spouse to do what only God can do for you. Like anything, put anybody in that category right. A spouse, a friend, whatever I mean.
As much as I value Kim and her friendship, she’s not God to me And you know, sometimes God will be speaking a word to me and Kim will be like no, it’s, it’s fine, but if I know God’s speaking a word to me, that’s gone. Yes, Like I. You know what I’m saying. God, true, And we’ve had this conversation Well. Well, i think about your wine show that we did when you were like. You came to me and you were like I’m doing this and it’s not right for me, and I was like well, i I mean I don’t think it’s a sin unless you’re getting drunk, but who am I to say God is telling you it’s not okay for you And so you can’t put your friend or a spouse or anyone above your relationship with God.
0:15:38 – Speaker 2
And I think that’s a bigger conversation with our kids, and just such an important thing to remember. I’ve done it. I remember thinking like my friend was going to make me happy, they were going to be the one to give me good advice, they were going to be the one to do all these different things, and those are all true, but at the end of the day they never can fill that spot. That is just for God, and so I’m so glad you reminded us of that, because the younger our kids can understand that man, it’s going to help them in every type of relationship.
0:16:08 – Speaker 1
Another thing I told this mom listen, when conflict comes up with friends, don’t always just jump in and try and fix it. You know, sometimes your kid needs to kind of figure this out between them and God and the friendship. And yes, you can be a sounding board and a lot depends on age and maturity. here I’m not saying every time don’t get involved, right, But what I’m saying is pray through it, because there have been moments, especially as my kids have gotten older, where God has told me to zip it and let your kid wrestle with this for a minute And pray that God will speak directly to your child about how to handle this conflict resolution or how to handle this friendship drama, whatever it is, And how cool it is when God speaks a word into your kid and it’s not you. You know that it’s just between them and God and they’re figuring out. okay. the Holy Spirit can direct me and can be very practical in my relationships and navigating the bumpy roads ahead.
0:17:11 – Speaker 2
This is also a really great time, you know, when they do have conflict in their relationships and their friendships, to teach them biblical conflict resolution, and in Mandy’s book, in chapter 21 of her first book Talk, she talks about this, and so that’s a really helpful time to explain that to them and walk them through some examples.
0:17:29 – Speaker 1
I specifically walk. Remember walking my kid through this in middle school, seventh grade, and there was a situation between two girls and my daughter wanted to text and I was like, no, we’re not going to text because it can be screenshot and all the tone of text. You know, what I’m recommending is you get on a FaceTime and you have a conversation And you know, but this pointing out the offense, it is a loving, non-judgmental tone of I’m worried about you. We’ve been friends a long time and I’ve noticed you’ve done this. Give one example. And I’m worried about you. Are you okay? Right?
And then the step two bring one or two friends. You know, maybe it’s your friend that you’ve been friends with forever in elementary school that are seeing the same thing, and so it’s just not just one friend now, if it’s not received well, it’s two friends saying we are worried about you, we love you, but you’re on this weird path and we don’t know about it. You know, we don’t know what’s going on. And then step three you know, with older kids really, then is and biblically we see this step one is go to the person privately. Step two is bring one or two friends. Step three is get an authority figure involved. That’s conflict biblical resolution. So at that point with the older kids is where you know maybe a parent needs to get involved, maybe a school counselor needs to be informed of a decision. You know whatever’s going on to get the kid help.
You know, and I’m talking about. You know, maybe you’ve got a middle school girl who is self-harming or you know, watching something online that’s not appropriate and her friends are saying, hey, i’m worried about you, i this is not good for your heart and mind, kind of thing. And step four of biblical conflict resolution is hard for me And it’s something that I have really struggled with, actually, and I’m learning more and more that it’s actually an important step And this is it. And it comes straight from Matthew 18 and it says if nothing works, move on. You know, be willing to forgive with open arms if this person comes back and wants to fix the relationship or whatever. The moving on is hard for me because I am. I am a sucker for second chances and third chance, as I’m for chance as in chances.
But the problem with that is then I don’t have good boundaries, yes, and then I get sucked into drama over and over and over again And, um, you know, i think there comes a point when God is telling us if you have really reached out in love and you have really tried to work on this relationship, and if it’s not being reciprocated at all for your own protection of yourself, you got to move on. And it’s not of a like I hate you and I’m never going to talk to you again. It’s I can’t be involved in this drama. So if you’re ever ready to break free of this, i’m here, but I got to, i got to move on, kind of thing. And that’s a hard space to walk your kid through, you know, because we, we, they’re growing up in this wonderful loving, accepting, just let people do whatever. And sometimes, when you’re working on a relationship and it’s a difficult one and you’re, it’s just not a two way thing It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to let go.
0:20:52 – Speaker 2
I’m glad that you shared what you did, because I think a lot of us as adults struggle with that too, and that makes it hard to walk our kids through it, because we start to feel all these emotions tied to our own experience as we’re talking to our kid And it’s easy to project and it’s easy to not want to tell them to do that step, because we know what it feels like. But it is so important And I’m glad that you explained that so well, mandy, because one thing God has shared with me many times when I’ve been in that moment of like what do I do here is I need you elsewhere, and the energy that is being taken in this moment because you’re unwilling to move on is preventing me from using you where you’re supposed to be, and God just reminds me of that every time, and so I try to shift the focus. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not hard.
0:21:45 – Speaker 1
It’s so true. I mean, if you’re stuck in drama and you’re trying to get healthy but the other person doesn’t want to get healthy, i mean that is going to bring you down And you are so right that God has things he wants you to be doing And you can’t focus on those when you’re in all this unhealthy drama. We know this, all of us know this, but it’s just it’s hard to admit it sometimes And it’s hard to let go. You know of, sometimes years of friendship And I know people, even adults, you know, who have been friends for years, and now the political season and everything, and there’s just been these friendships that have just gone by the wayside and it’s sad to hear about and it’s sad to see. So, you know, be one of those people that try to work on the relationship you know that will break out of the unhealthy cycle. Try to do that so your friendships can be reconciled.
0:22:41 – Speaker 2
And then, for those that you have to walk away from, walk away knowing that you have done what you could and that you have promised them hey, if you’re willing to work on this, i’m right here Like that’s okay. That’s okay to walk away knowing that you’ve done all of that.
0:22:57 – Speaker 1
Absolutely, and parents listen. As you’re walking your kids through all this, just don’t shy away from the tough conversations And if your kid is hurting because their friendship is not going as according to plan, be there for them. You know, sometimes you can’t fix it. It’s just like you’re a shoulder to cry on. Just be with them in it, be with them in the messy And, as much as you can, pray for God to show you the teachable moments and the good conversations that can come out of what they’re learning from this experience.
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