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Parenting Teens: Defining Friend Groups

I recall being so concerned because my oldest son was such a loner all through school. In middle school, he and our next-door neighbor bonded by default. The neighbor was constantly the one to encourage him to come outside and run around. Once they entered high school, they drifted apart and my son spent the majority of his time in his room or playing with his younger siblings. 

Junior year, we learned that he was behind on credits and would need to take a few extra electives to graduate on time. I point-blank asked his counselor, “What will give him the most bang for his buck?”

Theatre and Firefighter Training.

“We’ll take it.”

While those seem like two of the most random choices, they were the best thing that could have happened to him. The friendships he developed between those two courses shifted his trajectory and helped him to open up to new friendships and experiences. More importantly, he created lasting friendships that have helped him through some tough times in his transition from high school to college life. As a parent, it reminded me that friendship is more than just hanging out — it is about real support and invaluable advice.

Friendships are a big part of our teenagers' lives. During this stage they will begin to narrow and define their friend groups.

The Center for Parent and Teen Communication’s mission is to help parents raise teens who are prepared to thrive. They provide science-based strategies to support healthy family relationships. They have a 100-word daily parenting newsletter that is invaluable and something you should sign up for.

Head here to read all about Defining Friend Groups. This month, they’re celebrating teen milestones. Each day has a new milestone covered in 100 words or less (because they know how busy parent life is!). You can see them all here, and I’d love to know which ones you’ve observed in your teens.

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