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Tweens and teens reflect on friendship



How the quarantine has reduced relationship drama

tweens, teens, middle school, high school, drama, friendship, social anxiety

From who they sit with at lunch to who gets picked first for gym class teams, middle-school and high-school students have an assortment of social anxieties to negotiate. The quarantine pared down these challenges, freeing kids to select just a few friends to relate to on a steady basis and giving them room to reflect on their social lives.

In the New York Times, Robyn Silverman, a child and teen development specialist and the host of the podcast “How to Talk to Kids About Anything,” discusses how much easier social life has become for some students. Without the recess gossip and arguments on the bus, one girl reported how much simpler it was to focus on her school work and then talk to her closest friends at the end of the day.

Silverman says now is a good time for kids to step back and take a look at their relationships. Parents can help them consider whether their friends are really supportive. However, it's important for parents to approach such conversations without judgment and really listen to what tweens and teens have to say. Resist the impulse to lecture about relationships you don't approve of. If your child expresses heartache about a friendship, don't dismiss it. The pain is real. Your empathy is valuable and will help you stay connected.

Encourage conversation about kids' experiences by asking such questions as:

  • What are qualities you value in a friend?
  • Do your closest friends express those qualities?
  • Do you feel like you can be yourself around them?
  • Which friends do you think would support you if you were having a problem?
  • Which friends make you feel included when you're in a group?




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