People would cease to exist without relationships. The sense of self dissolves without relationships with others, and by contrast, people are created and sustained within their social situations. Sometimes relationships are the primary reason a person enters psychotherapy, yet they are always an important factor in psychotherapy regardless of the primary problem.
Peer relationships are vital to developing healthy social skills. Empathy, ego support, intimacy, trust, self-esteem development, conflict management, and communication skills are all greatly influenced by the relationships you keep. Your behavior is conditioned by those with who you are surrounded. This can be challenging for parents, especially for the parents of adolescents. It’s important for parents to model by example what healthy relationships look and feel like. Learning to communicate boundaries can alleviate some of this stress. Keeping a clear communication channel with your kids can make a huge impact. By supporting your child’s friendships, you empower them to make good decisions, communicate their boundaries, and maintain high standards of care. We work with you and your family to communicate in ways that support healthy peer relationships.
- Model healthy relationships with others The first place teens learn about positive relationships is in the family. What they learn and experience within the family (parents and/or siblings) has a considerable influence on how they form and relate to friends later
- Maintain a positive relationship It is very important that parents have positive relationships with their teenage children. Teens that have healthy parental relationships are more likely to form more positive relationships with their peers. This would also include healthy romantic relationships. A positive parent-teen relationship is characterized by warmth and caring, while also setting behavioral boundaries and maintaining high encouragement.
- Encourage positive friendships. It is important to welcome your teenager’s friends to your home. Provide support for them to do activities together. Encourage participation in activities with positive peer groups. Examples of these would be school activities, youth programs, sports programs, and religious activities.
- Teach friendship skills. Children and teenagers need to learn how to begin a conversation with a new person. Equally important is how to show empathy and support to a friend. Peer relationships are likely to be positive when children and teenagers know how to resolve conflicts through discussion and when teens develop trust in each other.
- Know your teen’s friends. Parents should always know where their teens spend time, who they are with, and what they are planning to do. Then you have the opportunity to ask questions or add information. Try to offer support for the friendship depending on the situation.
Express concerns, ask questions, and set limits, when necessary Sometimes parents are uncomfortable with some of the teenager’s friends. Parents may think this person is a not positive influence. Parents need to talk about their concerns with their son or daughter, Teach him or her how to think about relationships. Be open and listen to what your son or daughter has to say about the friend. If the relationship makes the parents anxious, also talk about this. It is better not to forbid a friendship unless there is danger involved.