What will end a teenager's social life

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Friendships are very important even in childhood and adolescence. Family therapist Birgit Salewski gives tips on how parents and grandparents can support their offspring to develop good friendships.

Status: 04/04/2018 | archive

"The meaning becomes clearer when we visualize what friendship is. Friendship is a very special form of relationship that is distinguished from acquaintances by trust and sympathy. It is a voluntary relationship among equals, that is, there is no hierarchy or specific roles . Friendships are very flexible and dynamic relationships that often last a lifetime in adulthood. Studies show those who experience real friendship are healthier and happier. A person who has friends goes through crises more easily and is more socially and emotionally competent. Already Babies are interested in 'equals' and make contact with them. This contact is still random and random. With kindergarten age, the first, if only episodic, friendships develop. But sympathy and common interests become more important. A lot changes in childhood about playing together and trying things out in the social fabric, but we do d already screened for loyalty and social behavior. When children z. B. behaving mean, they are quickly 'down' with others.

Children create their own social space very early on, in contrast to living with adults. Therefore, parents do not always have to understand everything that is going on. Parents shouldn't interfere too much either, because that's what defines childhood friendships: Adults are not allowed in!

Over time, friendships become closer and more important. They are now increasingly used to distinguish yourself from the family and are important for discovering your own self. Young people are also socialized through so-called peer groups and friendships. Here they experience a social structure without the interference of adults, which they actively help to shape, in which there is bonding and discussion and in which they have to take responsibility. Friendship is extremely important to young people in Germany and is also extremely important for the well-being of children and young people. In friendships they experience belonging, security, confirmation and trust. "

"Not making friends or even being an outsider can have numerous negative consequences. Therefore, parents should attach importance to supporting children and building friendships. But be careful of arranged friendships, that often doesn't work and children experience rejection again."

"An important first step is: Trust your child that they will find friends. Maybe only one or two friends, but it doesn't have to be more than that at the beginning.

The second important step is that parents should allow their children every friendship. That is, they should be open to their peers who seem to care about their children.

As a parent, you sometimes have to take on something to encourage the children's contacts: be at the playground at the right time, take part in invitations, attend appointments from the sports club, etc. Make invitations yourself and welcome children into your home. "

"Quite clearly: take your time or make arrangements with other parents. The better you are networked as parents, the better it is for the children."

"First let the children do their thing and if necessary only support them with a few rules, for example that they do not get hit. Only children often do not have that much experience of arguments, they have to be learned first. Direct discussion, negotiation and reconciliation are central elements of human coexistence These are learned among equals, with siblings and friends.

If friendship is serious or if jealousy is an issue, then it's worth paying attention. Children and young people can suffer greatly when the blessings in friendships are crooked. "

"The simplest thing: practice an open-door culture. Invite children, create a climate that your children and their friends will also enjoy staying at home. Don't withdraw unnaturally as adults. They can play Children better eat alone, eat and gossip together.

And you can always ask your kids if you want to learn about the friends. Do this with an open mind. "

"Children who allow themselves to be negatively influenced by other children often have problems or low self-esteem. Children from broken or chaotic families are much more likely to seek external contacts.

The same applies here: Watch vigilantly, support your child in becoming self-confident and self-assured. As a first step, try to always experience the children together, invite them, take friends with you on vacation, get to know the parents. Is it really that bad or are you just prejudiced because your new friends are not good enough for you? "

"Parents are important role models and models for children in how to cultivate friendships. Congratulations on a birthday, the parties and celebrations together as well as taking part in the life of others who are not members of the family are important impressions for children and young people. They experience such a thing Another social network that is not simply given, but consists of many individual actions that nurture and strengthen friendship, and those parents who have some good friendships also have more competent children when it comes to friendships.

In terms of society as a whole, I consider establishing and cultivating genuine friendships to be one of our most important skills that we adults need to learn and promote. "