Teenagers seek out groups for security, protection, belonging, and acceptance.
High school requires social survival skills and no one wants to be an outcast.
Groups can be a powerful and influential force in the life of a teenager. This can be a positive or negative factor. Parents often worry that their son will get mixed up with the wrong crowd.
Some kids are natural leaders and some are followers. Teenagers are often more influenced by their friends than their parents. The groups they gravitate towards can make a huge impact on the choices they make and the direction they choose.
As the decades change, the names change. In my day the biggest groups were the jocks, the preps and the stoners. I’ll let you guess where I fit in that mix.
So many cliques!
Which of these groups did you identify with in high school? How about your son or daughter?
- Class clowns
- Rich kids
- Band/choir geeks
- Smart kids
- Scene kids
- Emo kids
This is only a short list of all the possible cliques. Just like sub-genres of music, they are always multiplying!
How a therapy group is different
A therapy group is a unique setting. It is often a collection of kids that would not normally hang out with each other. This creates an opportunity for teens to get a different perspective on life from the other members of the group. Unlike many social settings, a therapy group is set up to be a safe place. The teasing and harassment factor is managed by the group leader. Sharing and emotional expression is encouraged.
In my work, there is nothing quite like witnessing a teenager step up to help a peer by offering a personal story or the perfect piece of advice. Sometimes, in the therapy group I do my best to get out of the way and let the kids empower each other.
There is no doubt that groups are powerful. By the time kids reach their teen years parents have limited influence on the friends they choose and the groups they join. It may be a challenge to get a teenager into a therapy group, but it could be just the right thing.
Do you know a teenage boy that would benefit from group therapy?
Take a look at my groups that are called The Council for boys and young men.