How do you deal with a Teenage Loner

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by Petra-O IX, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Petra-O IX

    Petra-O IX
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    I have a situation that I have not had to encounter before.
    My Position at my Church is a Sunday School superintendant.
    Last week because of Christmas programs and such I expected the youth to be involved in preparing for their program presentation, however this one youth chose to attend adult sunday school. I did not think much about it at the time, I just considered this was a situation of a shy young boy who felt uneasy on the stage.
    This week , same young boy was in that class again so I had a short talk, asked if anything was wrong and I got the expected answer that all was fine. We talked about the teenage sunday school class and he told me he made a decision to start attending adult classes on a regular basis. My concern for him is leading me to believe that he is putting a protective shell of isolation around himself. I did talk to the young boy's mother and she is o.k. with him being in the adult class,but yet my concerns are that this is not the thing to do. I don't want to push this young boy and I know I must be more interactive with him in hopes that we at least could share whats going on in his life.

    My question is how some of you deal with such situations where teenagers are loners?
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    I think it would be good if you could find out why he would rather not attend a class with others his own age. Knowing the "why" might help you help him.
     
  3. Petra-O IX

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    Absolutely, and he reasons out that Teen Sunday School is not suited for him, he did not elaborate so I am taking baby steps with him and I plan to get our Youth Pastor involved in a discussion about this young boy.
    So, yeah , SBC , I do need more info on why but first I must find a way to get him to open up.BTW this young boy is 15 if that helps and he hasn't demonstrated any destructive traits but then i am not with him 24/7.
    Thanks for your input. I hope you have some more to share.
     
  4. Salty

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    Petra, be assured we will be praying for you in this delicate situation

    Salty:praying:
     
  5. Petra-O IX

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    Thanks Salty, That is what I need the most.
     
  6. Marcia

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    A lot (if not most) Sunday School Youth groups/classes are very cliquish. I've known a number of young Christian people who stopped going to Youth Group and Youth SS classes because of this. They don't want to play the "game" you have to play to "fit in," or by their nature, they can't fit in.

    Or, another possibility - this young man wants deeper bible study than maybe what the youth group is doing.

    I stopped going to youth things when I was a senior in high school (I was not a believer at the time however) because it was cliquish and I thought was boring.

    It might be good to find out what the youth group is really like - the kids may act one way in front of the adults but subtly leave some kids out socially.
     
  7. Alcott

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    I don't have any advice, per se, because every individual is unique. But I can see myself in that guy's place when I was that age. The less contact I had with those who were supposed to be my peers-- maybe even friends-- the more miserable I felt, yet the more I wanted it that way. So other than speculate, I will say that in all probability he will not listen to sound advice and he may be driven further away by it. But it's still possible that it could make a difference, though that could be years from now.
     
  8. Petra-O IX

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    When I was that age getting involved in sports helped me a lot. I felt like I too was a loner. I was fortunate that I had an outlet that let me gradually get away from that.
     
  9. Petra-O IX

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    Yes, I agree Marcia that youth can be rather cliquish and I am sure some don't intend to be that way but it is a trap youth can get into if they do not see the natural order of such things. Ocassionally you do get an exceptional young person who is able to reach out beyond the cliques and get loners more involved.

    I used to teach this young boy years ago in sunday school. It would be desirable that he would want to get into a deeper study of the Bible but that may be against his nature.
    Thanks Marcia for your input.
     
  10. LeBuick

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    How many girls in the other class? Any he might have a crush on?
     
  11. rbell

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    Me personally: if I have a kid who is willing to be involved in Bible Study (Sunday School), it's not a hill I'll die on if he/she wants to meet with the adults.

    I would like to know, if it were me, why. Some possibilities:
    • Someone in the group who is pestering/bothering/embarrassing him.
    • He simply identifies more with grown-ups...maybe he's a "30 year-old in a 15 year-old body."
    • He's painfully shy and is at home more with his parents.
    • He's spooked by the program, and doesn't want to be in a SS that means he'll be on stage.
    • Desire for deeper study.
    • He's just trying to get out of SS, and this is a step away.
    • Something else I haven't mentioned.
    Some options:
    • Have a talk with him...assure him you're not "out to get him," but that you just want to know if there's a situation you can fix. I'd especially ask if there's another person making him feel uncomfortable (you'll need to assure him of privacy).
    • If he's really mature, then maybe he can help with a younger class. I don't mind kids teaching, if I'm sure they're getting some spiritual instruction (i.e., if they're receiving it at home, etc.). Of course, supervise him, and check your church's regulations.
    When I'm faced with this issue, my usual gameplan, is I try to encourage the kid to...
    1. Get reconciled, if possible, with the group.
    2. Use them in another area of ministry (if they're ready, and if there's a good fit somewhere for them).
    3. Allow them to go into an adult class (I would only let them go where their parent is going).
    I would not allow them to move to another class outside their grade in the youth department. (i.e., don't let a 9th grader move into the 10th grade class). You're asking for trouble then, IMO.
     
  12. Alcott

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    Sports might have made a difference-- except the summer after the 8th grade I was in a motorcycle wreck broke a tibia, dislocated a hip, cracked 4 lungs, and pneumonia in the hospital almost got me out of this world, and often I have regretted that it didn't. Anyway, I was never able to run faster than a jog after that. But this, or anything similar, is not likely the case with the subject of this thread (is it?). The point, though, is that reasons for what he does, or does not do, have to be taken into consideration.
     
  13. annsni

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    EXACTLY what I was thinking. You've hit all the points that I've seen in the youth who do this sort of thing. Some are things that need to be dealt with and others are just things to allow the boy to do on his own. But I wouldn't be overly concerned with a child who does not want to go to a childs/teens Sunday school and would rather be in the adult one if there's no other issue driving it.
     
  14. menageriekeeper

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    As a mother of two teenagers who both refuse to be part of the youth group, perhaps I can help.

    First off, Fine is a euphemism for "this youth group simply doesn't fit me, but I'm stuck at this church because this is where my parents go (or for an unchurched child, they are afraid of family reaction to changing churches)."

    "Fine" also might mean that there are cliques, that the temperament of the group doesn't fit this child, that the Bible study isn't in depth enough, or that there are other things going on within the group that YOU don't know about and would be surprised to know were being discussed.

    One of the first few reasons is why my middle child dislikes SS. "Fine" means he was totally bored out of his mind by the way the material was presented (this was my non reader) and he wasn't going to participate in anything that might require him to read! (it might help to understand that there were years when his migraines made it impossible for him to read)

    The last reason combined with the fact that the kids doing the discussing were leaders in the group or children of church leaders and you have the reason my oldest child refuses to participate in SS. (some of this was dealt with by a change in how the kids were supervised, ohter stuff, well lets just say that some parents don't want to know what their kids are up too) "Fine" in my child's case meant she wasn't a tattletale but there were things the youth leader had no idea about. :rolleyes:

    Wednesday services are another subject. Wednesdays are just plain fun at our church. Lots of fellowship, the material is presented differently and there is great variety in the subject matter. It's great! Well unless you suffer from severe migraines and then "fine" means that what you are doing is great only my children simply can't tolerate the noise. What they get out of it is simply not worth the physical consequences. "Fine" in this case really means fine. Just because they physically can't tolerate those activities doesn't mean the youth leader should change them just for my two kids. I have third coming up that will enjoy them in a couple a years.

    So my kids go to adult services with me and we don't participate in SS. If you are wondering, yes, I have thought about finding a church that better suits my kids, but really, there are problems in every youth group.(this sort of stuff went on in my youth group when I was growing up in another church!) It just isn't possible to please everyone. And other than this, our church fits us a well as any church I've attended and much better than most of them.

    So this whole book to tell you that "fine" means different things to different kids. You will have to gain this kid's trust before you will find out what is really going on. And even when you do, YOU may think it is a non issue, but I guarentee it's not a non issue to him so be careful how you react. And I will just go ahead and tell you, my kids NEVER said anything to their leaders. EVER. The leaders found out because my kids talk to me and well, I'm not shy. :eek:
     
  15. TLB

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    amen!:thumbs:
     
  16. Petra-O IX

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    I want to thank all ya'll for your input. rbell, Marcia and Menageriekeeper., all of ya'll have nailed down part of this problem. A lot of this got resolved tonite and there was more involved in this than what I thought. It would be wrong for me to go into details .

    rbell, your game plan is a great presentation , I've gotten a lot of good pointers from this.
     
  17. Marcia

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    Glad you are getting it resolved and got some good pointers here! :thumbs:
     
  18. Gwyneth

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    :flower: I`m sorry about your accident, Alcott ; did you really crack 4 lungs :eek: are there two of you ???????????????? or were those ribs you cracked, pretty painful, anyway, hope you`re fully recovered.
     
  19. Alcott

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    :laugh: I didn't notice that before. I meant cracked 4 ribs and punctured a lung.
     
  20. thegospelgeek

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    I've worked with teens for more than twenty years, made many mistakes, and am still learning. But the best advise I can give is to not push. Get to know him. become his friend. If you do this I guarantee that you will know why he is not attending the teen class. He will either come out and tell you or he will give you subtle clues. It takes time, but if you show love and an actual desire to befiend him it will happen quicker than you think possible. And of course pray, pray, and pray some more. A REAL heart to help will be recieved.

    Also my youngest son always prefered to stay in the adult class with his mother and I. I worried about him not being fed spiritually because he rarely paid attention and seamed totally disinterested. When he was seventeen he went to a Bible study with some girls he was interested in at the time and when he returned home he told me he was amazed at the lack of Biblical knowledge that the teens had. He said he had to explain the plan of salvation to them and convince them that you can't get to heaven by being good. I asked him alot of questions about the night and he enjoyed sharinig what went on. So don't be too alarmed that he want's to be with the adults. Some kids are just like that.
     

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