We all need friends. Whether they are casual ladies we go out and do fun things with, or they are the emotional support we need when we are going through something hard and intense, having people to rely on makes life so much easier and more rewarding. Having friends is a part of life, and this is especially true when it comes to our teenagers. In our current age of technology, teens have different friendships than we used to when growing up, but they are no less important. Being a good friend is a life skill and here are 6 ways you can teach your teen how to be a good friend.
1. Develop Leadership
Leadership is an important quality for many aspects of life and one that your teen should work hard to foster. When it comes to friendship, it gives your child a way to stand out from the crowd and influence their surroundings, as well as the people in them. A leader can control their place in a friendship, which means they can choose to be a better one. Teaching your child to be a leader amongst friends develops confidence, which they can carry with them their entire life.
2. Show Empathy
Empathy is not a naturally occurring trait in many teenagers. The way their brains are wired tend to make them a bit more self-centered and rash, unable to easily consider the feelings of others. You can guide them into stopping and thinking those things through before their actions have negative consequences. Empathy means taking time to understand how others feel and putting others before themselves.
3. Demonstrate Kindness
We can all stand to be more kind in our lives. Teens in particular can be very cruel, especially when they are lashing out and not stopping to see how their behavior or words is hurting the other person they are speaking to. Fostering kindness in your teen can go a long way, and you never know when your teen will need kindness in return.
4. Have A Sense of Humor
Humor goes beyond the ability to make people laugh. It is about how we interact with others and are able to laugh at ourselves or make a joke of the serious things going on in our lives. There are times to take things seriously and times to laugh them off and brush our shoulders. If your teen can learn and apply that lesson then people will always want to be around them. Plus, it gives them a better perspective on life,
5. Improve Social Skills
Not everyone has to be outgoing all the time- many of us are introverts. But the ability to go out and try something new, step out of our comfort zone, makes us brave and well-rounded people. Developing and improving social skills is a vital way to be a good friend.
6. Set Boundaries
Teaching your teen to set physical and emotional boundaries is one of the most important aspects of being a good friend. Having the confidence to say no, step away from a bad relationship and how to stick up for what’s right are the foundation for a healthy friendship. Have tough conversations with your teen and model what it looks like to carry on friendships that are equitable and healthy for everyone involved.
Tyler Jacobson is a father of three and avid outdoor enthusiast. He’s learned a thing or two about parenting and has turned from a full time career in digital media to helping fellow parents of teenagers. He pulls from his own life experiences raising spunky, free-spirited children, as well as his work with various organizations that help teens be their best selves. During his free time, Tyler enjoys taking his family into the mountains to connect with a simpler side of life which he finds grounding and rejuvenating.