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Creating and maintaining healthy friendship habits is a critical part of teenage development. At a certain point, the responsibility of forging new friendships falls to your teenage child as they learn how to meet people and make new friends. However, a portion of the activity also belongs to the parent.
While it should never fall to you to create the friendships themselves, there are many subtle ways that you can quietly prepare your teenager to navigate the tricky world of friendship.
Healthy communication is one of the most important soft skills that you can teach your child. The ability to translate feelings into words, convey complex intellectual points, and actively listen to and empathize with others are all critical behaviors for any adult.
Your child will ultimately master the art of communication once they’re out in the world personally interacting with individuals and building budding friendships. However, you can start to hone their communication skills before that takes place, as well.
You can begin the process by simply taking the time to talk with your teen. You should take the time to talk with your child throughout their life and not just when they’re a teenager. This doesn’t just allow them to process various questions about relationships. It also enables you to model good communication for them.
Another topic that goes hand in hand with good communication is electronic etiquette. The younger generation is up to their eyeballs in electronic gadgets. They spend far too much time with their heads bent down and their eyes fixed on a screen.
There are many reasons to teach your teenager to manage their electronics properly. For instance, avoiding blue light before bed can help them sleep better, and managing their screen time can prevent them from hurting their eyes. Additionally, learning to control electronic devices and avoid tech addiction can help them with their relationships.
Trusting your child with a tablet or a smartphone can be a sign of growing age and maturity. It can encourage them to practice discipline and learn to be more responsible, both of which are important behaviors when interacting with friends.
It can also help them learn to handle themselves properly when around others. For instance, if your child is well-trained in good phone etiquette, they won’t spend time with friends hunched over their phone and talking to those around them without making eye contact.
Budgeting and Finance
When relationships are being discussed, finance isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. On the contrary, the idea of managing a budget and paying bills is usually associated with private activities done when you’re alone at home.
Nevertheless, proper financial training can have a big impact not just on how a teen handles their money, but also how they manage their friendships. The ability to track income and expenses and set spending limits can foster a greater sense of organization. This can directly translate into becoming a more organized and scheduled individual. It can also help cultivate better friendship habits.
For instance, money skills can help your teen learn to stick to commitments, whether it’s paying a bill before the due date or meeting up with a friend at the right time. If your teen hosts a party — an event that requires some skill as the pandemic winds down — financial acumen can help them set a budget, estimate costs, prioritize expenses, and ensure that they put on an affordable extravaganza that their friends can enjoy.
Teaching your children to take care of themselves mind, body, and soul is part of the parenting journey. This includes teaching them about the various dimensions of wellness, such as:
- Physical wellness;
- Emotional and spiritual wellness;
- Mental and intellectual wellness;
- Social and environmental wellness;
- Vocational and financial wellness.
Having healthy self-care standards is important for your teen’s health and future success as an adult. However, it’s also a critical part of their ability to maintain healthy friendship habits.
If your child has a clear idea of what behavior is good for their body, mind, and other aspects of their health and wellness, they can also recognize unhealthy behaviors, too. For instance, knowing about healthy food and physical wellness can reinforce the lesson that your child shouldn’t use drugs or alcohol to form or maintain friendships.
Their decision to spurn unhealthy relationships won’t just come from the simple act of obedience to their parents. It will also become rooted in a deeper understanding of what is healthy for them personally over the long term.
Teaching Healthy Friendship Habits to Your Teen
Ultimately, it’s up to your teen to forge healthy friendships. However, as a parent, you can be a part of forming the habits that lead to those friendships.
Behind-the-scenes lessons like budgeting and self-care as well as activities like electronic etiquette and interpersonal communication aren’t just helpful on a personal level. They also quietly yet profoundly prepare your teen for a lifetime spent forging and maintaining friendships.