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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.

How Can I Help My Teen Get Ready for College?

As a parent, it is hard not to worry about our kids. Of course, this is what we have been doing since they have been born. Is it possible that we are already thinking about them leaving the nest and living away from home? We want to take inventory of what we are doing as parents to support our children at home, because as well meaning as we are, we will not be there to provide this support when our children are living away from us at school.

Questions that you might consider when you are wondering if your child can thrive at school are: 

  • Does my child have good hygiene habits? 
  • Does my child know who to ask for help if he/she/they need it? 
  • Who does my child go to when they have a problem? 
  • Does my child know how to solve problems when they are faced with stress? 
  • Does my child know how to cope with multiple tasks at one time?
  • How does my child face challenges in his/her/their life?
  • Does my child know how to make healthy choices with regards to nutrition? 
  • Does my child have healthy sleep habits? 

Of course, while no child is perfect and realistically, teenagers are notorious for unhealthy habits, it is important that internally, they are aware of the choices that are best for them, even if they are not always making the best decisions possible. It is also important that they know who they can go to if they do not have the answer to a problem, and need help.

As a clinical psychologist, I have seen many cases in which teens who struggled with mental health issues in high school such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and trauma have gone off to college without the appropriate level of support and have significantly regressed in their mental wellness. The reason for this decline is often due to:

  • Difficulty with emotional regulation causing the teen to retreat to their bed and skip classes, miss assignments, and isolate themselves.
  • Lack of ability to cope with conflict combined with the lack of psychological support required to help the teen resolve conflicts that present themselves, especially during the transition to college.
  • The teen becoming overwhelmed with academic and social demands of college without the proper level of psychological and psychiatric support, again, especially as they are transitioning to college 
  • Avoidance of assignments or social situations that cause anxiety, which can result in social isolation or avoidance of academic tasks such as an assignment, or studying for a test. 
  • The teen having difficulty making friends or finding their social group, causing them significant anxiety, stress, or even depression.
  • The teen procrastinating when they become overwhelmed with academic demands due to executive functioning deficits such as time management deficiencies, as well as difficulties with planning, organization and prioritization.
  • Difficulty with tolerating stress or disappointment due to social rejection or poor grades and regressing in terms of their depression or anxiety.
  • The teen requiring psychiatric treatment due to increasing mental health issues or side effects of their current medication.

If you are concerned that your child might need support when they go away to school, consider getting them assistance through our First Semester Consultation Program. In this holistic preventative program, your teen will receive:

  • Psychological support weekly from a doctoral level therapist specializing in helping your teen have a smooth and easy transition to college
  • Bi-weekly Psychiatric support from a member of the psychiatric team
  • Team meetings by the psychiatric and psychological staff who will consult on behalf of your child’s treatment to create the best outcome for your teen and ensure success for their first semester. These meetings will be held with and without the Parents.
  • A review of their previous psychological records, assessments, and IEPs, which will identify their strengths and weaknesses, and will make recommendations for continued success in college.
  • Connections with your child’s school’s Student Service Support Center,  helping your  child learn the services they offer and how they can take advantage of these support services.   

With this supportive team approach, we truly believe that this can prevent teens who we know struggle with mental health issues to face the pitfalls that we have seen many times in our collective practices. Being in a supportive program can make the difference between a teen being successful in college, and coming home after having an emotional, and difficult setback, potentially holding them back from the important independent, young adult trajectory that we are hoping for them.


If you have any questions about this program, or want to learn more, please reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, visit our website at: https://applepsychological.com/contact-us/

or book a FREE consultation call at  https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/