Ask The Source

The Kid Who Used To Be Nice

Dear Jonathan,

My husband and I just took over a youth group about 6 months ago. So, this is all new to us. We have a youth group of approx. 15 people, but we have one student that is making it very challenging. She just began coming to this church about 7 months ago (she was in her previous church for almost her whole life). She has had an attitude since the beginning. But, there for a while it got better. She began participating and being a part of the group. Then all of a sudden, things began to change. She won't have anything to do with the group. Her nose is in the air, she won't pray anymore, or answer questions when she used to all the time. She is constantly talking to her other friends from her previous youth group during the message. When we asked for her to stop, she began writing notes. She definitely wants to be the leader. Anytime my husband and I try to do something God has called us to do, such as a skit, she downs it. Nothing will please her. She is destroying the whole group. We recently made two of the students leaders since we know them, the life they live, and know that they are truly there to seek God. So, I don't know if this has something to do with it or not. But, we've been praying about how to handle this. Do we ask her to leave the group, talk to her personally, or call her. We have warned the whole group numerous times about RESPECT and if they didn't want to follow the rules, they could sit downstairs in the sanctuary with the adults. How do you suggest to handle this individual?

Mandy, Missouri

Answer

Mandy,

Just tell the pastor that his daughter is acting up and he better . . . oh . . . it wasnÕt his?

First- take a look at some of the other questions on my ASK JONATHAN page, there are several other people who asked questions about other difficult students, you might pick up some small bits of help from those as well.

But to answer your question- YES- talk to her one-on-one. Get a time with her alone and tell her nicely that you're concerned about her and you hope that she's okay. But then, in the second half of your time, tell her, “We are concerned for you and are here for you. But, unfortunately, your actions have been a drain on the entire group- and we can't have that. Frankly, you've been violating the one rule, RESPECT, way too much. Because we care for you and didn't want to embarrass you, we didn't single you out. But if you cross the line again, we'll send you out.”

Then continue: “I know this isn't easy to hear- so feel free to take a few days and sort this out. But we want you to know that, even though we are going to be strict with you, we love you and are here for you. If you want to talk ANYTIME, just come up to me and say, 'Hey, can we get a soda?” and the invitation is open, no matter what.”

Basically, youÕre commicating love, but not compromising your standards. Both are important. Love is vital.

Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Keep up the good work.

Jonathan McKee

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Jonathan McKee

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.

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