89-- I have a rebellious friend, should I break the friendship...?
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Dear Dr. Smith,

I have a friend that is very rebellious. How do I help her, should I break the friendship or hang with my friend to give support? I don’t want to stand in judgment.

Dear Friend with rebellious friend,

I commend you for understanding that what your friend is doing is not right. Your desire to help her must also be applauded. However, before you can help your friend, you need to understand the reason or reasons for her rebellion.

Is she hanging out with the wrong crowd?                                                                              
Is she smoking, drinking or doing drugs?                                                                                
Is she sexually active?                                                                                                               
Is she living with both parents?                                                                                                                       
Is she in foster care?                                                                                                              
Does she have a boyfriend?                                                                                                      
Is she from a broken home?                                                                                                            
Is she a Christian?                                                                                                                            
If she is, does she still go to Church?

There are several causative factors that might be impacting your friend’s behavior. These could be personal, familial, systemic or psychological.  The personal could be as a result of childhood wounds, the familial, could be as a result of a divorce, separation or abuse in the home, systemic could be as a result of multi-generational transmission issues and psychological could be as a result of unresolved issues. Depending on how chronic her issues are, she may need to get professional counseling.
The best you can do for her is to encourage her to do the right things, and help her to understand that by being rebellious, she is only hurting herself. If she is into drugs, immorality and is hanging with the wrong crowd, and you cannot get her to break the habit, then it might be the wisest of things to break the friendship. This does not mean that you should stop speaking to her, you should be warm and friendly towards her whenever you see her. However, you should refrain from spending time in her company. By doing so you are not judging her you are protecting yourself. I will say a prayer for your friend and I hope you will remain strong. God bless.

Dr. Smith.