We need to be conscious about how we model friendships and how we personally value them. Over years of watching you, your child will have seen your good and toxic friendships, arguments and fun times. They will listen to what is said by you about your friends – the good and bad. So use your experience to teach your teenager about choosing and developing positive friendships.
Things to teach your teenager about being a good friend:
- Treat others as you wish to be treated. By showing respect to others, they are more likely to be respectful to you.
- Show your friends that you value them. Actions speak louder than words, so encourage your child to nurture their friendships through kindness, respect and being supportive.
- Nobody is perfect. An occasional fallout between friends is natural - all children go through friendship conﬂicts. If your child is upset with a friend, support them in working out their problems.
- Teach them that forgiveness can help forge stronger friendships.
- Not all friendships are forever. Everyone changes over their lifetime and the friends that your child is close to now, might not be the friendships that serve them in years to come.
- Trust your instincts. If your child has a bad feeling about a friendship or isn’t sure the friendship is good for them, they should feel confident to withdraw from that person. Encouraging them to talk it through with you or someone they trust can give them to confidence to take action.
By learning the skills to be a good friend, your child is more likely to build a strong and supportive peer network. This is key to their wellbeing and their ability to deal effectively with challenges that arise through the teenage years.