Needy friends can add an additional challenge to raising your teen daughter. During these complicated years, teens are constantly looking for acceptance and reassurance from their friends. According to Bill Rawlins, author of "Friendship Matters" and "The Compass of Friendship," friendships can take on a more long-lasting and clingy demeanor throughout this time. If your daughter is dealing with a needy best friend, take the opportunity to teach her about healthy relationships, establishing limits and setting priorities.
Have an open conversation with your daughter about friendship. Explain that friendships should be balanced and mutually beneficial. Ask her to evaluate if her friend is giving her the same time and attention that she demands. Tom Rath, the author of "Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without," recommends periodic "friendship audits" in order to recognize which friendships are providing you with the things that you need.
Teach your daughter the importance of priorities. Encourage her to create a mission statement or a list of her priorities and goals. Discuss how she will not have time to pursue her own interests or dreams if most of her time is consumed by her friend. Help her find ways she can balance friendship and her personal interests.
Set clear guidelines and boundaries with your teen. Include rules that limit the amount of time she spends with her friend, such as only allowing her to come over on weekends. Communicate to your daughter that missing family events or putting aside school work is unacceptable and have consequences in place.
Praise your daughter for being such a caring person. Highlight the qualities that make her a sought-after friend. Explain that she should use those same qualities to reach out to other friends who might also need her. Encourage her to expand her social group so that she is not limited to this one friend.
- Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without; Tom Rath
- Ohio University: Just Between Friends
- Avoid being too drastic by forbidding the friendship. This will only distance your daughter and draw her closer to her friend.
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