What Kind of Friends do Teenagers have
Friendship is important to all age groups but young children’s friends are normally well known to their parents. As children reach their teens, their tastes begin to change and they may form new friendships. These friends are often unknown to their parents and often exert great influence as a group. Parents can find this unsettling and may be unsure how to relate to the teens and their friends.
How does Peer Pressure Work amongst Teenagers
Most friendships are formed at schools and teenagers tend to hang out in groups. Each group has its own standards and values and the members commonly share musical tastes, dress codes and attitudes. This can be positive or negative but is often perceived as negative by parents. They find it hard to accept that their child is into heavy music, strange fashions and new interests.
How can Parents keep in Touch with Teens
Parents can keep communication channels open in a number of ways. Here are some suggestions:
• Make your teenager’s friends welcome in your home. Provide a space for them to hang out and supply snacks and non-alcoholic drinks
• Focus on what is important and enforce that rather than bickering over minor issues
• Be available to chat to your teen and their friends but don’t impose
Possible Problems with Teenagers and Social Interaction
Many teenage problems stem from their social lives of lack thereof. Here are some areas to look out for:
• A teen with no friends may become depressed. Look for signs of bullying and emotional upset in young people who are always on their own
• Too many friends may cause a teen to neglect their school work and suffer from extreme tiredness. Social activities should not cause other areas of their life to suffer
• Peer groups generally dress in a similar fashion to each other. Although it is unfair, a teen may feel ostracized if they do not have suitable clothing. Try to ensure they have a few basic items with the right labels to enable them to fit in. A good pair of jeans can be dressed up with generic T-shirts and accessories
Teenage years can be difficult for children and parents. Parents may feel pushed aside as teenage friends become more important and fights may ensue over clothing and behavior. The best way to handle these difficulties is through communication and understanding. Social interaction is extremely important to teens and parents may do harm than good if they interfere too much.
Teenager manual – The Practical Guide for All Parents, Dr Pat Spungin, Haynes Publishing, 2007