“Teach your teenager to choose the right friends for them. Help them understand how important it is to have friends who believe in them; friends who love and appreciate them for who they truly are, and not for who others expect them to be…”
Can you close your eyes and think of the wonderful moments you shared with your friends when you were a teenager? How great you felt and how much you laughed and grew together?
You see, the best friends with whom I’m still in touch are the ones who have been with me since my teenage years. The fun we had together. The small fights and arguments. The laughing it off and patching up later.
They are all part of those incredible moments… memories I still carry with me.
Not only that… I also look back and realize that many of the decisions I made in my life were based on advices given by my friends during my teenage years. Decisions such as the courses to take, the college to choose…
And many times, it was my own gifts and talents that were highlighted by my friends back to me. They were the ones who made me realize what I was good at and how important my gifts and talents were, and still are.
Having friends is important. It makes our life a lot meaningful.
Why would it be any different?
You have been through your teen years. You remember the things you said and done. But also the things you haven’t. And I am sure you can remember how important your friends where to you back then. And how, their opinions mattered to you more than the opinions of your parents…
Their presence played a major part in your life. And chances are that they influenced the course of your life in one way or another, am I right?
Well, there is no reason to believe things for your teenager child will be any different.
Friends play an important role in your teenager’s life. And we all know that a lot of times, your teenagers are more prone to listen to their friend’s advice than that of their parents and family members.
It is part of growing up and becoming an independent person.
As a wise parent, it may be hard to accept this. But I have found that it is better to acknowledge this than fight it. And look for healthy ways to inspire and empower your teenager in ways that will help them to choose friends that will help them become better human beings.
Healthy Relationships and the Influence of “Good Friends”
- Will help your teenager improve and grow
- Will help them develop a positive outlook on life
- Dream and aspire to create great things and become great people
- Create a sense of stability in your teen’s life
- Create more happiness and contentment.
Toxic Friends, Unhealthy relationships and the Influence of “Bad Friends”
- Are a deterrent to your teen’s growth and progress.
- Will bring about a negative or pessimistic outlook on life.
- Will cause your teen to feel vulnerable, anxious, and insecure.
- Will create stress in their life that can later manifest as anger, irritation, and even depression.
- Will lead to bad habits or substance abuse and shunning away from responsibilities.
As a parent, your guidance is important in every aspect of your teenager’s life even in their social life. But remember, you cannot stop your teen from socializing. You can only guide, inspire, and educate them to make the right choices and surround themselves will people who have their best interest at heart.
Teach your teen on the traits of a Good friend. So that your teenager can spot one when they meet one.
Keep in mind that a good friend is someone:
- Has good influence on your teenager
- Is goal oriented
- Is free from bad habits
- Is a positive thinker
- Good on academics and extra-curricular activities
- Has some good manners
- Is nice to your teenager
- Supports your teenager
- Cares about your teenager
- Helps your teenager
- Has a healthy and positive attitude
In short, a good friend is someone who has, (what I call the 4Cs of friendship). Constancy, Candor, Courtesy and Council.
How to Educate Your Teenager to Choose the Right Friends
- Give them the basic education on friends and relationships.
- Talk to them about abuse and peer pressure.
- Teach your teen about way outs. Way outs they can use to get out of tricky situations and come out of toxic situations without affecting their social standing.
- Talk to them about their friends.
- Get updates on their social circle.
- Find the reason why your teen might be caught into a toxic friendship and see how you can help them.
- Enroll your teenager in activities they are interested so they can connect with likeminded people.
- Nurture their good friends by involving them in some of your family activities.
- Seek to be an active listener( nonjudgmental) when they approach you.
- Hear them out and empathize with them. Give them pointers. Better not insist or instruct.
- Help them feel secure and unconditionally loved.
- Nothing beats the good old “Being always available for them. The feeling that you will always be there for them sends out a message they are love and gives them the courage they need to face life.
- Give your teen stories from your own life (Good or Bad)
- Choose your friends wisely. (Your children will do what you do)
- My Favorite one: Send them WhatsApp on TED talks, or other videos on friendship that will inspire and empower them.
This may sound trivial to you. You might even think: my teenager already knows these things and will not be interested to hear them from me. Still as a parent, no information you share with your teenager is trivial.
So, NEVER stop caring and sharing your wise advice.
You have the power to help them become a healthy, happy, and wise adult.