There’s always at least one. You might be in the middle of a serious story and you see them in the corner of your eye chatting with a friend. The temptation is to stop what you are doing and call them out, but is that really the best way to react?
This is part 2 of our post mini series: How To Handle Annoying and Obnoxious Teenagers. In the first part we talked about being proactive by preventing distractions (Read that post HERE). In this post we’ll look at:
HOW TO REACT WITH AN APPROPRIATE PLAN
Emotions are high during those moments someone disrupts your program. But before you jump in guns blazing consider:
GIVING THEM A POLITE WARNING
Whenever a teen disrupts give them the benefit of the doubt. You might be frustrated, but keep your emotions in check. Overreacting could make the problem worse.
Instead of calling them out, make sure a volunteer can politely tap them on the shoulder and ask them to keep it down. You might find that a teen doesn’t even know that they are being a distraction.
The more polite you are the more you’ll build a reputation of caring about them. If they know you care they’ll respect you and be more likely to stop themselves in the future.
TALKING TO THEM ON THE SIDE
If the problem persists or their behavior is overly disruptive talk to them on the side. While you might want to pull them out of the room at that moment, see if you can just address them after program.
Talk to them about the situation by asking them, “How are you doing?” Give them the opportunity to own their behavior. If they don’t just politely point out what you saw.
Avoid using accusatory language, and instead focus on how their behavior made you feel. Let them know you care about them and if there is something deeper going on give them permission to share it with you.
Lastly, if you need to let them know if the behavior continues or repeats that you’ll need to talk to their parents.
BRING IN THE PARENTS
Again, if the behavior persists and you’ve given them fair warning it’s time to talk with the parents. Let them know that you want to share with them things you’ve observed about their child’s behavior.
When you talk to them remember emotions are going to be high. Avoid using adjectives that could describe their child in a negative light. Talk about the actions as objectively as possible and give the parents a chance to respond and listen to them.
It’s during this time a parent might reveal something deeper going on with the child. They might share with you information that can help you address the situation. Parents who feel involved with work with you.
Turn the negative into a positive by looking at the situation as an opportunity to get to know the parents more and show yourself as a resource.
GIVING THEM A BREAK
Unfortunately, there are times where not matter what you try the situation just doesn’t improve. This is a difficult situation where you need to talk to the parents ahead of time. Discuss having their child miss a week or two to just think about what’s going on in their lives.
If possible try to meet with the teenager outside of the ministry night so that they don’t feel abandoned or alone. Again, this is an opportunity to invest in the teenager and if they feel that investment you should see a positive response.
CONTINUING TO PRAY FOR THEM
Make sure you are praying for your teens. They have a lot going on in their lives and their distractive behavior can be a result of the busyness happening in side of them. Pray for God’s grace that you can approach each situation with love.
If you have a plan for the disruptive teenagers in your ministry you’ll create a better experience for everyone. You’ll be able to diffuse negative emotions and turn every opportunity into one where God’s love is present.
[Reminder] What’s your plan for disruptive teenagers? How are you being proactive? [/reminder]