Friend or Foe ?
You now no longer have control over their friend circle
A huge great challenge when our kids become teenagers is the circle of friends that you cannot control.
As they explore their identity, they may also explore the dynamics of different circles of friends. Keeping up with who is who can be hard work. What if you never meet these new friends? You cannot make a judgment if they are good or bad for your teenager. What if you have to rely on their judgment as to who is a good influence or not? How do you overcome the possible issues if you're not able to vet your teen’s friends?
Is a bad influence simply a different influence to yours? Food for thought.
When friends become enemies
Keep your friends close and enemies closer is an old saying. Often during the teenage years, we encounter
the full nasty reality of bitchiness, backstabbing, and bullying. With the ease and convenience of social media, these charming displays of human behaviour are right in the inner circles of our teenager’s life. Unfortunately, it is also more common in girls. Year nine at high school seems to be one of the toughest years for bullying, girls often being the worst offenders. How do you deal with your teenager who is experiencing this? How do you deal with it if you discover it is your cherub causing the damage? Would you be willing to admit it let alone know how to handle it?
Bullying is everyone's nightmare
Bullying is simply a really shitty thing to live through, and just as shitty to witness your teen going through. The parental protective desire to throttle the little ratbags who are causing the grief can be an overpowering one, but as adults, it is not the correct response for so many reasons. A concerning reality to a bullying situation is that sometimes when we finally find out it is happening, our child has been enduring for a while. Most teenagers do not want to admit 'stuff is going on' because parental involvement can (in their minds) just make it worse. It takes a great deal of communication, support, and trust to work through this. Schools often claim they have a 'zero tolerance' of bullying but I speculate that this could be a head in the sand attitude more often than we care to admit.
There are some fabulous resources on bullying which I will list in the member section. Catherine from Complete Self will also be exploring this dark corner of our kids' lives. Having experienced two of my teens being victims of bullying, I have written often about bullying and just how far it's cold fingers spread.
Below are links to the articles. Keep an eye out for the Parenting Prac E-course on
Parent or friend - you can not be both. actually, yes you can and should be!
There is this theory of parenting teens that really riles me: the notion that you should not and/or cannot be a friend to your teen. To me, it just seems absurd! A ‘hang on’ from the authoritarian style parenting of the Edwardian era (seen but not heard shit we threw out the window decades ago for our younger children). Why on earth would you not want to be friends with your teens? I am not referring to the go out and get drunk, pick up or get tattoos type friend – they probably have that covered. The media and headlines on how to parent would like you to think that the ‘party parent friend’ is the only way you can be a friend, which I think is confusing parents and damaging relationships. Let me assure you, you can be a true friend to your teen and still be a parent. To read more on this, follow this link