• Have a significant fight with a friend. They may start it, or their friend may start it.
• Lose an important friend, either by getting dropped by that person or by dropping that person.
• Be on the receiving end of a mean or nasty comment or action or be on the giving end of meanness.
• Be the object of gossip. Most will gossip about others.
• Be excluded in some way from a group they want to belong to or a party they want to attend. Will exclude someone else from a group.
The first thing that stands out in this list is that most teenagers are on both the giving and receiving end of these negative behaviors. That alone may keep you from rushing off to intervene in your teen’s social life: your teen isn’t the only one to have her feelings hurt by a friend. Odds are, she’s done it herself.
As tempting as it may be to get in the middle of these friendship problems, it’s best to stay out and let teens solve it on their own. When you step in to rescue your teenager, you’re sending the message, “You can’t do it.”
Your job is not to eliminate all suffering or difficulty from your teen’s life. Provide a listening ear and, unless the problem becomes a serious one—your child feels physically threatened, for example, or the teasing has become so constant that it is harassment—it’s best to stay on the sidelines. If a truly serious pattern exists, you may need to call the school to get help from a counselor or administrator.
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