Help Kids Identify Toxic Friendships

Paige Clingenpeel is one of my favorite people on the planet. I LOVE her new podcast sponsored by HomeWord. It’s called Embracing Your Season: Parenting the Littles and Understanding Teens. Paige is one of the most authentic people I know and I have listened to all of her podcasts. Okay, I’m a fan! If you haven’t had a chance to tune in here is a link. Caution you will probably become a fan too. When I was a youth pastor, I used to tell the students all the time, “You become like the people you hang around with.” In this blog, Paige gives some great insight on helping your kids identify toxic friendships. This is good stuff. You can learn more about Paige at her website.

Help Kids Identify Toxic Friendships

IT’s not enough for parents to point out a friend is unhealthy to be a part of. And if we push too hard it can lead to our kids staying in those relationships just to prove they can make their own choices. So here are some ways you can help them to come to their own conclusions about the health of their friendships.

  • Check in on how their body feels after spending time with that friend. Kids can’t always understand their feelings, but they can identify when their body feels tense, their stomach aches, and they are exhausted after spending time with that friend. So if you start seeing a pattern of headaches, stomach issues, body aches, point out that our bodies tell us when things aren’t right even if our heads don’t recognize it. Here is an example of how to check in on their bodies “Hey did you know that our bodies can tell us how we feel? Have you noticed that after having sleep overs at Lisa’s house you get headaches, and are more irritable? Do you think your body is trying to tell you something? What do you think it means?”


  • Use media as examples. When watching movies or tv shows, identify both healthy and unhealthy friendships. Highlight what a good friend does, and how healthy friendship make people feel secure, happy, and even brave to risk being their authentic selves. Then ask how their current friendships measure up. Focus on both the positives and negatives of those friends.


  • Get your kids involved in activities where they can meet other friends! Exposure to opportunities to make new friends helps our kids not only develop new relationships but also encourages them to not settle for friends that are not good for them. Whether it is art classes, band, karate, or sports leagues, find ways to help your kids to explore new interests and make new friends.

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Paige Clingenpeel

Paige Clingenpeel knew she wanted to work with adolescents, young adults, and women of all ages since she started college. She was called into ministry and majored in Intercultural Studies with a minor in Christian Ministries. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she understood her ministry should focus on mental health. Paige pursued her master’s degree in counseling, earning her degree in Addictions and Community Counseling. After becoming a licensed mental health counselor in Indiana, she worked nationwide with women, adolescents, young adults, and parents! Since 2009, Paige has combined her therapeutic knowledge, training in ministry, and sense of humor into powerful and practical messages. Paige has spoken nationwide for parenting, women, youth, and professional counseling conferences and retreats. She is a TEDx speaker and has worked on TV, radio, and web-based media. Paige contributed to the women's marriage and parenting site and can be seen hosting the tween show iShine K'nect on TBN. She works as the Discipleship Lead at Pine Hills Church, is an adjunct professor for the Graduate Counseling Program at Indiana Wesleyan University, and hosts ‘Embracing your Season,’ a parenting and marriage podcast sponsored by Homeword.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

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