Positive Peer Community & Child Discipleship

We are not mean to travel alone in this life, true friends are important!

It is true in life that we grow to be like our friends. Therefore, the more time we spend with our friends the more we will be influenced by their values and the actions that result. It is also true in life that we cannot choose our children’s friends. However, there are some things that parents and mentors can do to help each child and young person in the choices they make about friends.

As children grow in age the influence and importance of the peer group becomes more dominant often at the expense of parental influence. This underlines the importance of creating positive peer environments for our children.

Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Principles and practical ideas to inspire you as you implement this formational experience into your long term plan …

We are not mean to travel alone in this life. With one true friend and God we make a three stranded cord that is not easily broken. Like the old saying “there is strength in numbers”, but the key is it need to be positive strength.

Why is a POSITIVE PEER COMMUNITY so important in the faith formation process? Here are 3 reasons….

1 “Three strands together are strong” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
2 A result is a reduction in negative behaviours and an increase in well-being
3 As humans we gravitate to people of like-minded passion

Top 10 reasons why…

1. Safety – youth are not so silly when they are within positive peers.

2. Security to try new things.

3. To see that our responses effect others deeply.

4. A problem shared is a problem halved.

5. An encouragement for people in not so positive groups to see an alternative.

6. A shared history of a long term friendship over time is precious.

7. Life is fun when shared with others and terribly lonely when alone.

8. We need to be intentional and make time to spend with positive peers. It feeds the soul.

9. Peers should encourage(en – courage) each other – give courage – we all need more of that.

10. Peers that reflect the family values can be a strong influence as it is reinforced from another perspective.

Practical ideas

Activity / Interest Based

  • Sport – Christian team or involve yourself teams, Soccer team.
  • Fun Day – jumping castle and water fights.
  • Vacation care/After school care/Holiday camps.
  • Create spaces with the same gender so they can feel supported in what they are going through and realise they are not alone.
  • Similar Hobbies and passions.
  • Cause based

Intentionally training kids about friendship.

See www.Kidsmatter.edu.au – social/emotional programs
Internships and Junior Leadership programs where peers work together for a greater cause.
Encourage opportunities to serve together, a shared goal helps deepen relationships.

Spiritual connections

  • Build relationships with other families who have similar values.
  • Talk with children about wise choices and actions and consequences.
  • Encourage children to bring their best friends to be part of the Church community.
  • Create group identity e.g. T shirts, badges, special privileges etc.
  • Peers should encourage (en-courage) each other – give courage – we all need more of that.

Create Safe places for positive peers to develop

Encourage families to open up their home so their kids can have their peers over and create a safe place for them to connect and bond in positive ways.
Peers that reflect the family values can be such a strong influence as it is reinforced from another perspective.
Youth and Club type atmospheres.

The material above is drawn from the here2stay website