Having friends – a ‘tribe’ – is beneficial for physical, social and mental health. Friendships are particularly important when you’re a teen and in fact, researchers have shown that for teens, peer approval is paramount.
The teen years are one of the most dangerous periods in life for self-inflicted injury and even death, and teenagers make much riskier decisions when they’re with their friends. So, finding the ‘right’ kind of friends – a supportive tribe – is key to keeping your teens safe and happy!
You can help your teenager find their tribe by having open and nonjudgmental conversations about:
• Family and personal values like kindness, honesty and inclusivity
• What it means to be a good friend like being caring and supportive
• The importance of following their inner compass – knowing what is right and wrong and not just “following” peers to try and “fit in”.
These conversations will help your teen make good friends for life!
STORY Dr Rosina, CEO of Win Win Parenting.
Every human wants to feel connected to and part of something – including friendship groups.
Our desire to ‘fit in’ can lead to us compromising our sense of identity and individuality as it gets swallowed up in the collective peer group personality. We start wearing the same things, watching the same shows, going to the same places, saying the same things – in order to conform.
But that can lead you to making choices you don’t really feel comfortable with and that don’t align with who you truly are. The process of ‘growing up’ isn’t just about getting older and taller, it’s also about developing as a person. And, even though ‘being yourself’ seems like the simplest thing to do, it can be the hardest, because you are still trying to figure out who ‘you’ are.
The trick is to choose things that make you happy, but don’t compromise your principles or hurt others… what are you passionate about? What do you wake up in the morning excited to do? Do more of that! And surround yourself with people who accept you and encourage you to do those things.
I promise you – all you need to do to stand out is to be authentically ‘YOU’. Because there is no other YOU in this whole wide world.