Teen Friends & Teen Social Life

The teen years are a time when the focus shifts from family to friends. Most parents would agree that it is hard to tear a teen from the friends long enough just to have a meal together let alone a whole weekend together. This is a very natural developmental stage but that doesn’t mean that parents should let go and just let it be a free for all where friends take over.

Most parents struggle with how to help their kids gravitate positive friendships. Here are a few things that foster positive friendships that your teen may enjoy.
  • Structured youth activities in school, church and community are great ways for teens to meet other with common values, goals and/or interests. Teens that are involved in extra curricular activities are more likely to stay out of trouble after school. It is fair to tell your teen that they need to be enrolled in something but then you do need to let them decide or help decide what activity they want to do.
  • Communication is a great thing. When your teen goes to activities and other functions talk to them about what they did, who they saw, how people acted and ask them what they thought of everything. This opens up a dialogue about how the teen perceives others and what is okay and not okay so you can get an idea of what they thing is permissible behavior.
  • Make your home a gathering place. If you make it comfortable for your teen to invite their friends and have things around that get them interested you will reap the benefits. Invest in a basketball hoop, maybe a video game, pool table, just something fun. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big ticket item and not just one thing. Basically the atmosphere you create and how willing you are to slip into the side lines and let them have fun will determine if your home is a place where they want to be. If you are constantly hovering over them or criticizing then they will definitely not want to be there.
  • Keep in mind that the most positive of friendships and peer groups will hit some bumps in the road from time to time. As long as the bulk of the friendship heads in a positive way and is healthy for the teen you shouldn’t worry!