Your teens’ friends are more important than you.
Now, hear me out…this isn’t 100%, but it’s often a teen’s perspective that they care more about what their friends say than you. The time to fully influence your teen is mostly over (not completely, just mostly), it’s now time to step into the mentor phase of parenting. Your role as the parent is changing.
Your teen and their friends are all going through similar emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and they really need each other. Parents sometimes feel ignored or abandoned by their teen as they shift towards their friends.
Your feelings will likely get hurt at the idea that your teen would rather share their innermost feelings, go for a drive, or out for ice cream with their friend over you most days. You need to be ready and available when your teen chooses to come to you, because it will happen at unexpected moments.
Friends provide teens comfort, acceptance, belonging, happiness, stability, and confidence to navigate the intense feelings, stress, and pressures in life, even more than a dating relationship. Your teen’s friends are a big part of developing their sense of identity outside your family.
I know that your heart breaks when they don’t have a good friend, or have toxic friends influencing them down a dangerous path. I know how difficult that can be as you wonder how to best navigate those challenging situations.
Making friends is hard, keeping friends over the years is hard, getting dropped by friends is hard, moving is hard, feelings of inadequacy or fear of rejection can be at the heart of this isolation.
Teens need to feel accepted, not micro managed or judged by parents. Your teen also needs you to accept their friends.
How can you help them make good friends? I’ve got some tips on all of this, so stay tuned as we chat throughout the month.
Your teen actually does still need you, they just don’t always realize it.
When you are well connected, you have greater influence.