Our friend and youthworker Joel Owens sent the following and we wanted
to pass it along to you. It's written to the parents of the teens in
his ministry. Feel free to edit and send it along to the parents of
Today I read an interesting article (especially for those of you with
middle school aged kids) and I wanted to pass it along to you.
New research findings by the Univ. of Oregon show that changes in
friendships as students enter middle school may determine academic
success or troubles down the road. The findings reveal:
1. Boys and girls whose friends are socially active in ways where rules
are respected do better in their classroom work.
2. Having friends who engage in problem behavior is related to a
decrease in their grades.
3. Having pro-social friends and staying away from deviant peers
proved more effective for academic payoffs than simply being friends
with high-achieving peers.
In other words, the behavior patterns of your child’s peers will have
more impact on their academic success or failure than how good or bad
the grades are of their friends. As Solomon said, “He who walks
with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
The rest of the article outlines more of their findings and is worth
reading. The article concludes:
“…responsible adults-at school and at home-should pay special attention
to changes in friendships and encourage students to pursue and
participate in adult-supervised activities to promote pro-social
What do you know, research is showing us the importance of the role of
solid adults guiding kids to better function within the accepted bounds
Finally the article suggests, “Parents should pay close attention to
what their kids are doing and with whom they hang out. If parents
notice that there is a shift in a child’s friendship network, they
should try to get to know those kids, talk with teachers, and
communicate naturally with their own child about where they are going
and when they will be coming home.”
Your child wants and needs you to be actively involved in the process
of helping them make wise friendships. The friends they have will
play a major role in the direction their life takes. Help them
determine who should and should not be in their circle of influence.
Your Partners in Youth Ministry!
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