Group dynamic

Group dynamic for teenagers is a balancing act between creating a unified group and allowing each individual space. And how do you break a negative group dynamic?

Individual and Group – Group Dynamic for Teenagers

Group dynamics provide the conditions for your work. What roles are there in a group? Who is comfortable enough to speak? Who only confirms the words and actions of others? Is there someone who always stays silent?

When you know how power is distributed among the individuals in a group, you start creating balance, without breaking down any individual. The goal is for all individuals to have the place to be themselves, while the group can work together and develop together. 

The first step is to create a common platform for the group. Let everyone decide together which rules should apply. Invite everyone to think about their own answers.

Challenge: Breaking Negative Group Dynamics

A person with negative energy requires a lot from the leader of the group. How do you, as a leader, avoid expending all your energy on that person at the expense of the others in the group? Below are tips and exercises that can help you turn a negative group dynamic into a positive one.

Avert immediately
Avert negative comments as soon as possible! Interrupt them with positivity, even before the person can finish their sentence. Target the group’s attention toward the positive results that you are working together on. For example: “This is how great it will be when we do this”.

Positive peer pressure
Empower those in the group who have a positive attitude. It’s contagious! Encourage and strengthen everything that goes well. Do not focus on what is not going well.

Deal with negative behavior individually
Individual behaviors that are negative for the group are best dealt with without blaming someone in front of the others. For example, if you ask more questions to those who are silent, those who are accustomed to being the center of attention might become upset. If so, you talk individually to those who become upset.

Don’t listen to the words, see the needs
Is your interpretation of a person acting negatively correct? Maybe they sound more negative than they are? Take a step back and do not be too quick with your interpretation. What did the person mean? What needs were expressed? Criticism, for example, may actually be a suggestion to do something differently.

If something does not fit the group, let them come up with an alternative. For example, if the group thinks: “These dance steps feel stupid”, answer them: “How do you want to change the steps?”

Exercise: Yes!
Organise the group into pairs. In the pairings you take turns proposing things to do that the partner must say yes to. The phrase should start with “Should we…” and the partner should answer joyfully, “Yes, let’s do it!”. And then the pair do the proposal together.

Communal painting
Decide on a positive theme, eg hugs or friendship. Everyone gets paper and colors. Play happy but not overpowering music in the background. No one finishes their painting, but the paintings are rotated so that everyone continues on their companion’s image.

It can either be a shorter exercise to create a good mood, or be done with the purpose that everyone should be satisfied with their communal creation, in which case you can take more time.

Dance stop, without losers
The classic dance game, dance stop, but without focusing on who loses or wins. Everyone dances when the music plays, when the music suddenly goes silent, you have to freeze, no matter what position you are in. Choose happy music with positive messages. The goal of the exercise is a good mood and laughter!