Humans were created for connection. To help teens navigate the complexities of friendship, they can look to the great philosopher Aristotle who said, “Friendship is as important as life itself.”
God created relationships so we would have others to help us through various aspects of life. Teaching teen daughters about the value of friendships is one of the toughest parts of parenting.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 offers insight on how to help your teen make friends. It states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Step 1: Know Your Role as Parents of Teen Daughters
Parents compete with friends, media, and society for their teen daughters’ attention. It’s essential for parents to learn how to help teens make friends. In doing so, teen girls will better understand what friendship is, know how to make friends, and discover how to entertain friends.
According to the Pew Research Center, 98% of teens say they have one or more close friends: 78% say they have between one and five close friends, and 20% claim to have six or more close friends. Sadly, 2% of teens do not express having a close friend.
Parents are the most important teachers who help our teen daughters identify real relationships or fake friends. The main key is teaching teen daughters how to choose wisely in their friend selection.
Step 2: Teach Your Daughters How to Find Real Relationships
In today’s “influencer” world, teaching our daughters how to find real relationships is critical. Instead of trying to accumulate a massive following of fake friendships, encourage your daughter to cultivate a few close friends.
Teach her how to discern the positive and negative traits of friends she spends the most time with. This way, your daughter can compare that list against the boys and girls she may be trying to become friends with.
Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
As you help your teen daughter make friends, consider this priceless gem. Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Ask your teen daughter to consider how her friends may impact the way she behaves.
Talk with your daughter about what she thinks a “real relationship” should look like. Invite her to tell you about someone she thinks fits into that category. Then discuss what type of friend she thinks she is. Finally, ask if she thinks there are any ways she can improve and become a better friend.
Are your daughter’s friends polite to others? Do they speak words of kindness? Do they honor their parents? Are they interested in your daughter’s life? Are they encouraging or combative? Do they celebrate your daughter’s joys and mourn with her over her pains? Can your daughter’s friends be trusted with privileged information or are they prone to gossip?
These clues can be great indicators of the right kind of friend so your daughter can avoid “fake friends.”
Step 3: Teach Your Teen Daughter How to Avoid Fake Friends
If we want our teen daughters to have healthy relationships, we must teach them how to avoid toxic friends. “Frenemies,” emotional vampires, mean girls, or toxic friends consistently bring daughters down and cause negative thoughts about friendship. If your daughter spends too much time with these types of friends, her mindset may miss the real meaning of friendship.
1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us to teach our teen daughters, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
Friends who don’t make time for your daughter may not be relied upon in tough times. This can place strains on young friendships. Feeling like a friend has deserted your daughter without explanation is another major issue between friends.
Having a friend who always feels like a victim will not bring forth the type of life-giving friendship your daughter deserves. These types of people seem to always appear when they need to complain about their problems but are rarely around when your teen needs a friend.
Another trait of a bad friend is being self-centered. This kind of person is living by the tune “it’s all about me.” This type of friend can always find things that make them look better than your daughter.
Learning how to choose dependable friends is a great lesson for your daughter to learn. Getting rid of toxic friends leads to healthy relationships. Discovering the difference between real relationships and fake friends will help your daughter spot loyal, genuine, kind, and supportive friends.
Step 4: Friendship Foundations: How to Entertain Friends
Faithful friends are the ones worth keeping. It’s important for parents to teach their daughters how to entertain and maintain friendships.
Words of Affirmation
Teach your daughter how to tell her friends how much she appreciates them. Speak words that remind them how thankful she is that they are in your daughter’s life.
Acts of Appreciation
Showing appreciation can be one way to keep good friends. Teach your daughter to thank a friend whenever he/she does something for her.
Encourage your daughter to return favors when friends help her. Let her find unique ways of offering simple, yet appreciative ways to say, “thank you.” Sending a thoughtful card or a simple present lets friends feel the importance of their friendship to your teen daughter.
Teach your daughter to become a good listener. Show her how to prioritize active listening so she can effectively hear what her friends are saying. Then teach her to only give advice when asked.
Support Each Other
Strong friendships are built through showing support. If you daughter’s friend participates in a certain activity, allow your daughter to attend her practice, performance, or activity.
Create Quality Time
Being available to see each other and having fun together will help your daughter build lasting relationships. Teach her to find ways of enjoying the company of her friends by doing things they will both enjoy together.
Maintaining connection with friends is easy to do in the age of the internet. Teen friendships can stay connected no matter the distance that separates. Teach your teen to contact friends she may not see every day. She can organize friendship dates like talking online, meeting for coffee, or going for a hike.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Tech your daughter to understand the transference of emotions. When her friend is sad, your daughter should focus on being present with her emotions instead of trying to distract from what she is feeling.
Pray for Each Other
Praying for our friends strengthens friendships. Even if they are not actually spending time together in person, teen girls can place personal problems in perspective through prayer.
Step 5: Final Friendship Finishes
The wisdom in Luke 6:31 teaches us, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Friends can impact our lives in positive and negative ways. Healthy friendships can improve our mental and physical well-being, enhance self-esteem and mood, decrease stress levels, boost a young woman’s sense of purpose and belonging, and lead to more fulfilling, longer, and happier life.
A young woman’s friends not only influence her decision making, but they can also change how she will view the world. Friendships can positively and negatively alter our daughters’ insight and change young women into different people. As friends impact a daughter’s self-confidence, they can also impact her perceptions of other people.
Her friends can also affect the way your daughter behaves. If your daughter watches friends who are polite to others, this might inspire her to act the same.
Conversely, if a group of teen girls is speaking negatively about another person, this belief may transfer to the entire group. Hearing negative words spoken about others may lead your daughter to think her friends are talking badly about her when she is not around. Such beliefs may impact your daughter’s level of self-confidence.
Being a friend is not as easy in the social media world young women live in. Thankfully, there is an underlying theme that helps all friendships succeed. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Part of the responsibility of being a good friend is learning how to care for and understand one another. As you help your daughter understand her friends better, you empower her to succeed in every relationship.
Having friends enhances a teen girl’s sense of purpose and belonging while increasing one’s happiness, decreasing stress, enhancing self-worth, and assisting with coping skills to deal with various traumas. Particularly important for teen girls, having friends can help them cope with challenges like serious illness, divorce, loss of employment or death of a person’s loved one.
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