Problem with a Teen

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by FBCPastorsWife, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. FBCPastorsWife

    FBCPastorsWife
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    I need honest opinions and advice in a horrible situation. There is a 17 year old girl who visited our church as a result of our bus ministry. All of her siblings have been coming for well over a year but as a professing atheist she never wanted to until a week ago. She found a young lady in the church that she thought she could trust and she confided in her about possibly being infected with HIV after one of her many partners told her that he had been exposed. The person she told has already come to me about it and she told me she wanted to discuss it with someone who left our church on bad terms. I told her this was the worst thing she could do.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this? The 17 year old does not want anyone to know about it except this girl she told. I'm not sure how many people have been told now. She certainly does not want her mom to find out either. I'm pretty sure that if she were to be treated by a doctor they have to keep any tests and results confidential but I'm wondering at what age they still have to contact the parents. I know if the young girl comes to my husband or me later to seek counsel I would advise her to be tested immediately and then again in 6 months. Her problem at home is that this is the example that has been set for her. She is 1 of 4 children who all have different fathers and the mom just lost a baby that would have had a different dad too.

    If anyone could please help I would appreciate it!
     
  2. menageriekeeper

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    Say nothing on the subject until you are approached. This girl will not appreciate that her friend broke her trust and will probably not accept advice from someone that isn't supposed to know and that she doesn't trust anyway.

    In the meantime, encourage her friend to not say anything more to anyone else except the school counselor. Even then it can be anonymous. This girl is protected to a certain extent by the laws governing health and education and the counselor should be trained in what she can and cannot do with regard to helping this girl get tested. The friend, needs to encourage and encourage her friend to confide in the school counselor or the school nurse.

    What you can do is make yourself available to this girl. Get to know her better, personally. When and if she confides in you, then you can point her in the direction of proper help. Her soul's condition is of far more importance than her health. You will lose all possibility of bringing this girl to the Lord if you interfere in something she considers to be her own business.

    That advice works if only this isn't high school drama. What I mean by that is that kids tell each other all sorts of stories that may or may not be based in truth. This may be something the boy is telling her in effort to "get her back". The idea being that the girl will have to come back to him because she can't go around spreading HIV.

    If you've not been in a high school setting for a while you may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. It is amazing what dramatic situations high schoolers can get themselves into, but it is all just that: drama. Don't get caught up in the emotion of the situation. Find out the facts and don't act until you do.

    Oh, and give the friend a talk about when it is appropriate to discuss something someone has told them in confidence. This kind of thing has a way of becoming gossip in a hurry and it sound as if this child has enough talk going on around her as it is.
     
  3. guitarpreacher

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    My first thought is "Wow! What an opportunity you have to impact a young life!" If Iwere you, I would talk to my local health officials or to my personal doctor, maybe even both. Find out what is available as far as testing. I'm guessing that at 17 she can get tested for HIV without any type of consent and the results will be confidential.

    If she is tested and the results are positive, she will need a lot of support. Doesn't sound like she will get much at home. Let her know that she is loved unconditionally, and that no matter what happens, your church will do whatever it takes to see that she is taken care of, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Sounds like a lifestyle that is screaming for someone to show that they care and that she matters. This is your opportunity to show just how much she really does matter.
     
  4. Scarlett O.

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    This girl is a prime example of who we, as christians, are supposed to be reaching out to. Thank you for making an effort.

    Not knowing all the details, but going on what information you provided, here is what I would do if I were a pastor's wife and this girl visiting my church were found to be in this predicament.

    • Ask God for guidance in what to do and say.

    • She needs to talk to an adult, not another blabber-mouth teenager. Tell her in private that you know and give her a piece of paper with the address and phone number of the local health clinic. Give her taxi money if you feel you could trust her with it. Tell her that if she is found to be HIV positive, that you and/or your husband will go with her to tell her mother and/or to talk to the doctor and find out her options. Tell her that the best way to approach this is to tell her mother first and then go to the clinic. Don't be surprised if she doesn't want to do it this way, however.


    • Tell her that God loves her and is not punishing her, but that we have to pay consequences sometimes that we bring upon ourselves that are scarey. Tell her that God will walk with her through this if she will let him. Tell her that you will listen to anything that she has to say, any time....night or day. And if she doesn't feel comfortable with you, find a christian counseling service. Sometimes the counseling services provided by local clinics aren't always the best.

    • Tell her that you are trustworthy and will not tell her private business.

    • Listen to her. Pray with her. Pray for her.

    • If you can't work up a relationship with this girl that is helpful to her, see if you can reach out to the mother through the younger children.



     
  5. FBCPastorsWife

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    Oh, I would never say anything to her about it unless she tells me. The one thing that bothers me is that I think she just picked someone who she thought was her age that she could confide in. This was the first time they ever met! I think she just needed to talk and unfortunately it was to the wrong person.

    That is what I am hoping to do this upcoming weekend. We have a youth activity planned that she said she would like to participate in. It will take about half an hour to get there and we will spend most of the evening just walking and talking...basically getting to know each other. I'm hoping we can really get to know each other then. We have been praying for this girl for well over a year now and the most important thing to us is to get her through her emotional problems with the Lord's guiding and be able to lead her to Christ. (On a side note, her two sisters were both baptized yesterday morning!) These children are so very precious to us.

    This thought also hit me about the drama aspect of it. I remember the same stuff going on in high school (still less than 10 years ago...whew!) and even in college. Truthfully, I hope that's what this is! I've learned so far to not get caught up emotionally with things like this but to saturate it with prayer.


    What's bad is this older girl that was told in confidence is in her twenties although she acts, dresses and looks like a teenager. The younger girl had no idea and probably still doesn't know who she was confiding in. I told the older girl she didn't need to tell anyone else. It is the younger girls place to tell who she thinks needs to know or who she feels able to confide in. I just pray that the story doesn't float around anymore! :praying:


    Menagerie...Thank you!!!

    guitarpreacher and Scarlett...thank you so much for your comments as well! I am aching for this girl right now because I now this is a way we can reach her if she chooses to confide in us. Please pray for us!

    I appreciate the advice about contacting the local health department/clinic. I certainly will do that today!

    One good thing is that we have a very good relationship with the two younger sisters and even the mother. I pray this will help us out!
     
    #5 FBCPastorsWife, Dec 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2006
  6. PJ

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    That's a pickle, Pamela. I don't have advice but am praying about it ...
     
  7. Karen

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    On a practical basis, it is a good thing you are contacting the local health department. Other parents may need to be reassured that you have current information to protect their children around this girl. (They will probably end up hearing in some manner and you may need to be prepared to deal with questions.)
    For example, casual contact or even drinking from the same glass does not spread HIV. But health care workers all the time protect against contact from blood of an infected person entering an open cut on the health worker's hand, for example.
     
  8. FBCPastorsWife

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    Well, I just got off the phone with the local health department. They said we could bring the girl down there and they could do the test. It could be free depending on which test they do. They also have a confidentiality form that she can sign that would allow the results to be released only to her. They would also not mail anything to her home.

    At least I have this info now!
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    Whatever the Lord leads you and your husband to do, do with with confidence and the love of Christ.
     
  10. Raindrop

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    I wish the girl could read these posts and see how much genuine concern there is for her. She must be so scared. Thanks for your kind attitude and wise approach to the situation.
     
  11. saturneptune

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    Pamela,
    Really think you are on the right track for a tough situation. No doubt you and the church care for her probably more than she has ever been cared for. Unfortunately, churches are not the best place to keep things on a need to know basis only.
     
  12. Steven2006

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    In my opinion you need to talk with her. Without knowing her myself it is hard to tell you the best way to do that, but I think Scarlett O. gave some sound advise.
    The reason I believe it is important to speak with her is because she is sexually active. The risk of her infecting someone else should supersede any reasons for keeping quiet. Taking into account her mothers history and what you have shared about this girl, the fact is she just might be immature and distraught enough that she may indeed sleep with someone else. She needs to be tested, and she needs to be counseled.
    This responsibility has been put at your feet, unpleasant as it may be to deal with, deal with it you must. I will pray for God to give you wisdom in dealing with this. I will pray that she tests negative, and that this scare will be the eye opening experience she needs to listen to you and will except Jesus into her heart.
     
    #12 Steven2006, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2006
  13. gb93433

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    My first thought is to always pray. If the God of this universe can create this vast universe then certainly he can open her heart and create a situation where she will confide in you. I have seen it many times in my own life where God in his wisdom and timing brings those kinds of things about.
     
  14. LeBuick

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    I bet this is weighing heavily on this little girls heart. What a load to carry by herself. She may be looking for a loving caring adult to give her the guidance her mom couldn't/didn't. I would get her a lone and tell her you know her secret or you can tell her something personal about yourself, I bet she wants a mother right now. Make sure she knows that the other girl told you out of love and concern just as if you knew someone planned to commit suicide.

    I would then offer to take her to get tested. Again, because you care and feel she should at least know the truth. I would let her choose which test and pay for it myself it there is a cost. Getting her tested is important to giving her mind rest.

    No matter which way the test turn out you have your work cut out with this one. If they are negative, tell her the Lord spared her this time but let this be a warning that her lifestyle is not pleasing to God. If negative she will need a friend. If positive she will need a mother. I would offer to go with her to tell her mother or bring her mother to the Church to tell her if you feel the potential of a worldly response.

    My prayers are with you my sister... Sometimes Love has to be tough to penetrate.
     
  15. mountainrun

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    Scarlett is right.
    Tell the girl you know about her concern and want to help her.
    {The girl who spoke to you probably isn't the only one she told so she won't be sure where you heard it and even if she is, her life is more important that a broken teenage confidentiality.}
    She needs an adult who can help her. That's you.
    She also needs someone she can trust as a friend.
    That's also you. She also needs someone to tell her about Jesus. A friend who cares.

    MR
     

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