A friend accepts who you are, but also helps you become who you should be. (Desiree Panlilio)
– Desiree Panlilio
Friendship is a word we use for a lot of people in our lives. We have a day once a year when we celebrate friendship called Friendship Day, but what is friendship? Take a moment to pause and to think about who your friends are and why they are your friends while other people are not your friend. The basic definition of a friend is someone who is there for us and whom we are there for in return. Friendships have their ups and downs and sometimes we build friendships in the most unusual circumstances. Friends are people who are there for us unconditionally. They hold our dreams when we are struggling, celebrate our victories, and help us manage our defeats. Do friends judge us? Or do they hold us to the standard that they expect of us and that we expect of ourselves? I would share that friends hold us up to the standard that we have set in the relationship. A good friend makes sure that we don’t let ourselves down and challenges us to be the best version of ourselves.
Our teens are in a state of rapid growth trying to find themselves, their goals, and define their values of who they are.
Our teen’s closest friends are those that the teen finds accepting of them, fun to be around, and makes them feel safe and comfortable. The BFF is trustworthy. However, teens are in a state of rapid growth and they are defining and then redefining who they are, what their values and what their goals are. All of these changes lead teens to have changes in friend groups. Parents often share that their once athletic teen has decided to stop playing the sport they were passionate about and pursue something else and now they are with new friends.
As a parent, acknowledge your own thoughts and emotions when your teen changes friend groups. It is important that we do not determine our friend relationships based on the idea that our teen’s play the same sport. Build that relationship with the parents on a deeper level. That is a different discussion, but reach out if that is something you would like to discuss.
Your teen is in a rapid state of growth and changing friend groups and interests is part of their learning process as your teen discovers who they are. It is okay to change interests and to try other activities and different friend groups. As a parent make sure you are asking the right questions and meeting their new friend group. Our teens are still looking for our approval and our insight as a parent is invaluable to the growth of our teen as they discover their values and what makes a good friend. Have that discussion with your teen. Ask them what makes a good friend and how do they find those people that will be a good friend? If that is a difficult conversation to bring up, I encourage you to purchase our book on Amazon, One Friend? Two Friends? Good Friend? Bad Friend?: Teen’s Guide to Creating Lifelong Friendships. Our book will allow for the conversation to be initiated by sharing and discussing the information found in the book.