How to help your child navigate toxic friendships
In a previous article, we explored how relationships can cause stress for our youths. But don't worry, there are ways you can help them navigate these situations.
1) Cultivate self-confidence
One of the best things that we advocate is to help your child build self-confidence. When they have a strong sense of self-worth, they're less likely to tolerate disrespectful or harmful behavior from their friends. Encourage your teenager to focus on their strengths and achievements, and remind them that their worth isn't tied to their friendships or the opinions of others. When they have confidence in themselves, they'll be better equipped to set boundaries, stand up for themselves, and walk away from toxic friendships.
2) Look out for signs of toxic friendships
Another important step is to recognize the signs of a toxic friendship. Keep an eye out for things like your teenager feeling drained or anxious after spending time with their friend, feeling like they have to constantly walk on eggshells around their friend, or being put down or criticized by their friend. If you notice any of these signs, talk to your teenager about what's going on. Social media can be a breeding ground for toxic behavior and cyberbullying. Look out for any negative comments, messages, or posts directed towards your teenager. Keep an eye on their friends' posts and comments as well, as this can give you insight into the dynamics of their relationships.
3) Have conversations about possible toxic relationships
Listen to your teenager without judging them and validate their feelings. It's okay for them to feel hurt, confused, or angry about the situation. Encourage them to speak up and set boundaries with their friend. Help them practice what they want to say, and remind them that it's okay to say no to things they're not comfortable with.
4) Encourage making of new friends
It's also important to help your teenager build a support system outside of their toxic friendship. Encourage them to spend time with other friends or get involved in activities they enjoy. Help them find a trusted adult, like a teacher or counselor, who they can talk to about what's going on.
5) Get Professional Help
Finally, seek professional help if you're concerned about your teenager's mental health. A therapist or counselor can provide additional support and guidance for both you and your teenager.
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All the Best to you on your parenting journey!