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How can I support my teen in building friendships?

Building relationships in high school and college can be difficult for teens as they are navigating young adulthood and discovering their identity. Social settings can be difficult for some teens as they are either more prone to picking up unhealthy habits from peers, or struggling to build connections. Teens can be malleable and need to have the foundation of a sense of self. Reaching out to people first or committing to a plan can be difficult. As anxiety about being rejected or not being accepted may come up, it is important for teens to feel supported for being their authentic self.

Oftentimes, teens prioritize receiving support and acceptance from their peers. Therefore, parental support is especially beneficial when teens are building friendships. Relying on support from peers can be tricky as a teen because not all friendships are supportive. Teens may choose friends that encourage self destructive behavior such as substance abuse. It can also become easy to get lost in a friendship and feel alone. This can lead to teens changing themselves in an effort to be liked and accepted. Having parental support can be comforting because the teen will know that there is someone who accepts them for who they are.

Everyone wants to be accepted by their peers, especially teens. It can be easy for teens to lean into overthinking about how they are perceived by their peers. It is important for teens to have the mindset of being themselves when building relationships. No one is going to be accepted 100% of the time and this can be a good thing! Showing up authentically in friendships can weed out people who do not align with your wishes. This can be addition by subtraction, as it leads to finding friends who offer a stronger connection. Teens shouldn’t beat themselves up if strong friendships aren’t formed off first interactions or connections. They should learn to take each experience as a learning lesson about what company they want to keep and what they want out of a friendship.

When building friendships, sometimes you have to take the first step to show you’re welcoming and interested in meeting people. Teens tend to hide behind their phones and it can be harder to build connections when no one is willing to put themselves out there. A small gesture or a small conversation about a common interest can open the doors to building connections and making friends.

Feeling lost when navigating building friendships can be disappointing. Apple Psychological offers support through teen counseling and psychotherapy treatment. If your teen is isolating themselves or struggling to communicate, consider suggesting therapy, where they will have a safe space to communicate how they feel. This will help them build skills for cultivating new, strong relationships.

If you have a teen who is struggling with friendships or navigating their feelings, please reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, or  Contact Us. You Can book a FREE consultation by Clicking Here. An experienced therapist in Teen Counseling will help.