As the schedules and demands of teens become greater, sometimes it’s easy to forget that friendship issues may be causing your teen daughter the most stress and anxiety. Being aware of the signs of a toxic friendship can be important in getting your daughter out of a negative social situation, as well as giving her the tools to boost her confidence and know her value. Here are some common signs of a toxic friendship and what you can do to help your teen:
Being bullied or belittled – even if it’s in a playful manner – is a major sign of toxicity in any friendship. For example, is your daughter’s friend telling her where to do go, who to date and how to act? Is she putting her down for her appearance or grades? Any level of pressure or controlling behavior is a clear sign your daughter is letting herself be bullied by her friend. Your daughter could be accepting this for many reasons, such as lack of confidence or wanting to fit in with a certain social circle.
Whatever the circumstance, you must help your daughter understand that a positive friendship does not involve one person controlling or talking down to another, but rather mutual respect. You must also require that your daughter start limiting contact with this friend. If your daughter is worried about declining the friend’s requests (such as hanging out after school or going to a party), encourage her to put the blame on you as the parent so she doesn’t have to feel embarrassed about saying no.
Social media addiction
Is your daughter constantly texting or responding to social media updates? Any extreme communication or obsession with a friend is never a healthy situation. Excessive communication can become a huge distraction for many teen girls, often affecting their mental and physical health, as well as academic performance. Toxic friendships can quickly carry over into social media, causing teens to experience constant feelings of pressure and comparison with their peers. As a parent, it’s imperative to set parameters for social media usage and monitor your daughter’s use of sites like Facebook and Instagram. Setting parameters also involves establishing family rules for texting and social media usage at home, as well as enforcing consequences for when your daughter breaks the rules.
Lack of other friendship
If your daughter is focused only on a toxic friend, she’ll unfortunately miss out on other meaningful friendships. You can help your daughter develop positive friendships by creating more structure in her schedule and getting her involved in extracurricular activities in which she’ll meet other girls with similar interests. The bottom line? The more your daughter has going on, the less time she’ll have for the toxic friend and the happier she’ll become in her social life.
Is your teen daughter in a toxic friendship? It may be time to explore the benefits of a life coach for your teen. Get in touch with Amy Schule, teen life coach based in Buffalo, NY, at (716) 523-7591.