As your child matures and blossoms into teenhood, they’ll move gradually from familial relationships to peer groups. They will spend more time with their friends. They will try to discover who they are in cliques. They might value their pals’ opinions more than yours. This is all part of your child’s continuing social and emotional development. There’s usually nothing to worry about, except when your teen’s friendships become volatile. With the rage of hormones, drama among young people is inevitable. You should be able to prepare your child for these peer-related dilemmas:
When they can’t fit in anymore
The friends your daughter has known since primary school have found a new interest, say, playing music or cheerleading. But your child doesn’t have the skills to join this new hobby. They may feel like it’s no longer possible to be friends with this group. They may also pity themselves for not being good or versatile enough to ride the gang’s interests. How do you prepare your teen to handle this situation? As early as now, your teen needs to understand that it’s normal for friendships to evolve — but just because relationships change doesn’t mean it can’t survive. If possible, recount to them similar experiences from your teen days over lunch or during long drives. This way, it will be instilled in their minds that changes in friendships are inevitable, but they don’t necessarily spell doom.
When they’re forced to do something wrong
Peer pressure. The object can be in different forms, alcohol, drugs, petty crimes, premarital sex, but the overwhelming tension and influence your teen feels are the same. How do you help your child tackle this situation? The most important is to make them understand right from wrong. When they know and believe firmly that taking drugs isn’t right, they’ve won half the battle already. They’re more likely to turn away from it — turn away from friends who do it. So instill religious beliefs and basic knowledge of the law to your children, young as they are. Let others in the community help as well. Send them to a Christian school. Consider Gilbert high school education, for instance. Get them involved in the local church. With these influences, hopefully, your child will pick up a moral code they’ll remember in times of peer pressure.
When their friends turn against them
In other words, when they encounter ‘frenemies’, people who pretend to be their friends. These are the people talking behind your teen’s back, taking advantage of them, putting them down, while having fun in all the drama. Sometimes, your teen will dismiss all the hurt that they experience with a frenemy and still choose to be with them, please them even, precisely because of the manipulation that has already happened. To avoid all of this, as early as you can, educate your child about how to find ‘good’ friends. People who would look out for them, care for them, and treat them with respect. By the time they reach teenhood, when they encounter people in their circle who are the opposite of these things mentioned, they will be aware and empowered to walk away from the toxicity of those relationships.
Teen friendships are complicated. It’s full of tension and dilemmas. Your teen can’t wholly avoid such, that’s why it’s important to help them prepare for it. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your child then.