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Surviving Your Teen’s Friendships

teen friendshipsBy Dr. Michelle W. Canarick, Ph. D., P’23, ’24

Trying to keep up with your middle schooler’s friendships can give you whiplash! Quickly moving from one friend to another is developmentally typical for kids between the ages of 11-14.

Adolescence happens to everyone but it happens at different speeds. Our sweet little kids become romantically curious, more socially focused, less cooperative at home, and more intellectually open—all at their own pace. While they are exploring their own evolving interests, they may be leaving a slower developing friend in their wake. Or they may be that slower moving friend who now feels left behind. This is confusing and emotional for both the kids to handle and for their parents to watch.

Here are some things you CAN DO (or not do) as a parent during these tricky times:

Just like when they were in preschool and early elementary school and you taught them how to MAKE friends, as they move into the middle school years, it’s important to teach them how to KEEP friends. Here are some tips for teens about how to be good friends:

Friendships, particularly during those early teen years, can be challenging and sometimes require a little extra TLC. But your teen is up for the challenge and with you by their side, they are more resilient than you think! And so are you.

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