Learning how decipher friends, (by that I mean finding those you can trust and those you can’t), is hard for adults to do. For a middle schooler, it can be daughting. The middle school years, ages 11-14, are critical years in child development. These are the years of intense growth, mentally and physically, and independence. They can make or break a tween/teen. Having healthy friendships and good role models can help foster self-esteem and productivity. Having troubled friends can lead down a path of drugs, apathy and rebellion. Either way, the decisions you make in middle school can affect the rest of your life.
Having two tween daughters myself, I hear the stories about their “friends”. It makes me realize how hard it is to figure out who’s who. Who to avoid, and who to embrace.
Here is a letter to my daughters during their tween years.
I love you more than I can say and I only want the best and easy route for you. I know you have to figure things out and make your own mistakes, but I want to give you some guidance in the friend department.
There are 5 different types of friends. I will explain each.
The Frienenemy. This is someone you know, are cordial with, but you don’t trust. They may talk about you behind your back, be jealous or compete with you. Friendenemies are not someone you look up to as a role model. They can live on the edge and can be rebellious. Be kind to them, but do not choose them as a friend.
The acquaintance. This is someone you kind-of know, maybe a social media friend. You maybe never talked with them. You really don’t have much in common, just a similar circle of friends. The acquaintance will always be, just that, an acquaintance. Neither of you have any interest in getting to know each other, so just leave it at that.
A situational friend. This is someone you have a class with or maybe ride the bus with, and you talk during that time, but that is pretty much it. You like this person and they respect you, but outside the class, you don’t have much in common. It’s ok, situation friends are essential in getting through the day. As an adult, these are known as “work friends”.
A good friend. This is someone you like and can trust, maybe someone you sit with at lunch. You probably have known them a while and your friendship has grown. This is the kind of friend you invite to birthday parties. You know their family. They make you laugh and they support you.
A Bestie. This is someone who knows your heart and your secrets. They support and encourage you. You fully trust this friend. This is the friend you spend the weekend with. Everyone in the family likes this friend and our families get along. They are your cheerleader and linebacker, and vice versa. This is the most important friend for you to have. Everyone needs a bestie, and you only need just one. I have been blessed with several bestie’s throughout my life (Carla, Ann, Ellen, Jess, Stauss and several Heathers) Even though our lives are in different places, these besties helped shape my life. Forever, I am grateful.
But, my daughters, the bad news is that every human being will eventually let you down. Your bestie, your siblings, even your parents. We are all fallen people. You must not rely on us for happiness or fulfillment.
The good news is, Jesus Christ, will never let you down. He loves you perfectly and unconditionally. He is not a “friend”, but a Lord, so you must treat him as such, but you can have open communication with him through prayer. He can fulfill you and give you joy. He gives you a promise and a purpose. He is the one you need.
So, my advice to you, my daughters, it to rely on Jesus, trust him with your heart, and he will lead the way. He will help you throughout your life and help you make the right choices.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.
Comments? What advice do you have for your daughter?