Helping Teenagers when they are struggling with peer groups.
When our children are small although we may worry about bullying and their friendships groups, we generally know where the problems lie and are able to exert some influence.
Sadly that changes as they get older. It is part of them growing up and us as parents letting go… but managing to tread that very difficult path of helping them without taking over or interfering can be tricky.
So here are some tips which were sent to me recently by the NSPCC, which may alert you of potential problems, and help you and your teenager handle them.
Symptoms to look out for if your teenager is struggling with friendship or relationships.
- Overly jealous teenagers sometimes try to control their boyfriends or girlfriends by not letting them see close friends or even family
- Receiving frequent phone calls/texts which they are compelled to respond to.
- Getting into trouble at school
- Wearing the same clothes day after day, or changes in their clothing, such as wearing long sleeves when they normally wear short sleeves
- Acting depressed, or more quiet than usual
- Becoming angry if you ask how they are
- Trying to hide scratches or bruises
- Making excuses for a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Becoming secretive or moody
Advice for parents if you believe your teen is in an abusive or unhealthy relationship
Talk to your teen! Ensure they feel they can trust you and communicate with you.
Find out what they think makes a healthy relationship, and see what they’re learning from their friends.
Tell them they are not to blame if somebody is trying to make them do things they don’t want to do and help them build their confidence.
Don’t pressure them to end the relationship yet, as this may lead to a power struggle but get to know your teen’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
Advice for teens if you’re in an abusive relationship
Teenagers will often turn to a friend before family about problems. If you think you or a friend is in an abusive relationship, trust your gut feelings.
If something feels uncomfortable or wrong with the relationship, then it is not likely to be healthy.
Get help immediately. Don’t keep your concerns to yourself.
Break the silence. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, teacher, or a school counselor or nurse. Tell them what the other person has done to you and how they treat you.
Remember abuse can take many forms it does not have to be physical, to be abusive. Threats, emotional blackmail or ignoring people persistently can all be considered abusive.