We all remember how difficult those teenage years were, in every sense! Add in the drama of friendship, and it’s a wonder how we managed to get through unscathed and continue to hold down associations well into adulthood!
When you reach the stage in your parenting role where your teenager is beginning to have friendship problems, it can often be quite easy to get involved yourself and try to work out the solution to suit everyone. However, sometimes being the best parent you can be consists of holding back and keeping out of such friendships.
I know what you’re saying – easier said than done! However, if we want to continue to raise well-rounded teenagers who begin to develop their own coping mechanism when dealing with friendship issues, we will be doing our children a world of good for many years to come if we step back here.
Consider Being an Occasional Hands-Off Parent
By this, I don’t mean not caring or turning the other way. It merely means not getting into the whys and wherefores of your teenager’s friendships. Though it is hard for many of us, we need to ensure we allow our children to make a wide variety of friends, and this can often mean watching them team up with some that aren’t to our liking!
Try not to make your own concerns visible in front of your children and allow them to discover those types of friendships that you may not have envisaged for them. If there is no immediate harm to your child and they are safe, this may be a good time as a parent to learn and accept your child’s friends, trusting in their decisions.
Offer Guidance and Advice Not Solutions
As a parent of teenagers, you will more than likely be dragged into their friendships spats. One of the hardest things here is staying objective throughout. Remember what it was like when you were their age and how many times you and your friends fell out. Alongside this, it is worth remembering how quickly you would also make back up afterward!
If you start voicing your opinions about their friends and siding with how horrible they are during such arguments, this will come back to bite you when a couple of days later they are back in your home, having made up with your teenager! Resist the urge to get involved and encourage your child to think through their arguments rationally. Allow them to chew your ear – but be very hesitant about taking sides.