How Can We Help Kids Move Away from Negative Friendships?


Like good ol’ Kenny Rogers sings, “You gotta know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.” Kelli gives us direction on how we can help our kids kindly, yet courageously move away from negative friendships.

Walk with the wise and become wise,for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

“That smells like rotten egg!”   We’ve all smelled it and fled quickly from it.  Quick science lesson:  The rotten egg smell is called hydrogen sulfide and is caused by absence of oxygen.   Most times, the wise and first reaction is to flee.  If this smell is coming from well-water one method of help is making sure the well is properly ventilated…has a proper “out”…exposed to fresh air/oxygen.

As long as we are this side of heaven, we will find ourselves in a relationship that has some stink to it … negativity.   Whether it is negativity in attitude and/or choices, we, as parents, have the responsibility to show our children how to know when to move away and do so graciously.

  1. Be Wise. Just as we would not walk into or linger in a room with toxic gas … we should not linger in a relationship that is toxic.  Just last week, my daughter noticed her attitude and language being quite different after spending time with a few friends.  She simply tapered off her time with them and began to replace it with activities allowing her to breathe fresh air.
  2. Be guarded. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7 to guard our heart for it is the well spring of life.   Great advice Paul!  Continually be looking at God’s Word and those who know His word to help guard your heart.  It is important to be fiercely protective of what we let into our heart.
  3. Be Strong and Courageous. Amos 3:3 asks, “Can two walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (NLT) When a relationship does not include common goals, purpose or values it can become stagnant and need an out.  Your child might need to courageously create space between him/her and this other person.  This can be done without degrading the other’s character or compromising their own. Help your child be strong by providing positive options to fill the time they use to spend with this “friend”.

Walk wisely, be guarded and act courageously to do what it takes to keep friendships healthy.

Camper Corner:

Are there friendships you are in now that you think are influencing you differently from what is important to you?

Who are people who can help you guard your heart?

Are their relationships you might need to consider changing?

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