‘My friends are really, really important to me. To be honest I can’t imagine my life without them – they’re my backbone; they’re a huge part of every day’
Eleanor, 13, USA
Young people can be especially protective of their friendships, and friends are central to their lives at this stage. Having someone special to confide in and rely upon requires commitment and nurturing.
They spend a lot of time with their friends, encounter some significant milestones together and rely on validation from each other to get through different life events. Although family and parents still matter to them, at this stage, they can feel a need to develop strong bonds with others.
Tip: Respect the role of your child’s friends in their lives and teach them to value and nurture their friendships
Try to understand that their friends don't replace you as parents, but they do have an important role to play in their lives and in helping them feel confident about who they are. Help them understand what it is to be a 'good' friend and loyal to those close to them. Being understanding of this can also help open up the lines of communication between you and your child and you can encourage them to talk to you about any concerns they may have. Support their growing independence, but let them know you are there if they need you.
Good friends can be incredibly supportive as children grow up but their peers may not always have a positive effect. These videos show how the things young people say can have an effect on self-esteem. As a parent, you can help build your child's body confidence so they have the tools to combat negative influences. Download the free parent guide Uniquely Me, below, for tips.
This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.
Teachers: for free downloadable teaching resources, go to the Dove Self-Esteem Project area on ParentZone.org.uk
These pages are brought to you by Parent Zone and the Dove Self-Esteem Project
Main Image: Public Domain