Help me not kill this kid!
I have a youth that has challenged me in every way possible. He is a good kid deep inside, but I have tried everything to talk to him about some of his choices he's made. Some quick background on him: he lives with his mom, who just went through her second divorce and works as a nurse very long hours. The bottom line is John does not have any boundaries. I have spent some time with him, gave him a Bible, tried to listen to some of his rap music, and tried to be a friend to him. He has sold pot and smokes it. I have talked to his mom. I even told him not to come to group if he is going to do that stuff, and for the most part he has stopped doing it for now. In the past he has tried to date some of the girls in the group and has caused some friction between him and them. Now he has gone after another one of the girls and she's fallen for his trap.
I have prayed and prayed about this and even though I see a lot of him in me, my gut feeling is to tell him to not be a part of this group until he is serious about making some Godly choices. Please if you can give me any advice or direct me in this. Thanks and God bless!!
- loving kids that are tough to love
- shepherding our Christian kids
Bottom Line: How can you love this one kid, with out sacrificing the others.
Okay- a lot of people would say that Jesus would tell us to go after the one sheep . . . but did he leave his 99 unprotected? And didn't he follow that story with another story about a runaway SON that the father LET run away? He didn't chase after him, but WAITED until he came home? Of course the point of both those stories is not to tell us how to take care of others, but to let us know that God loves us so much that he cares about the 1 of the 99, the lost 1 of 10, the one that ran away.
Okay- enough theology. What the heck do you do with the kid.
I think you be very loving, and yet very firm.
Take the kid out one on one and let him know that he's always welcome . . . but there are boundaries. Let him know that if he keeps messing with the drugs you'll be there for him, but he's not welcome to come and distract the youth group.
The hard part of this is when he seems to have his act together, yet he comes to group and picks up on your girls. What do you tell him then? Or do you warn the girls? I don't think you warn them- but it wouldn't be inappropriate for one of your female staff to spend time with the girl that he's picking up on to make sure she's making good decisions.
If he does cross a line- violate a girl, do drugs, etc. Then kick him out. Let him know that even though he's kicked out of group, your door is always open at your house . . . at your office.
From personal experience I can tell you- the ones I kicked out of my weekly program are often the ones that came back to my door later because they knew I loved them.
Hope this helps.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.