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Cheering Your Child Up When a Friend Lets Her Down

Posted Sep 14 2011 8:55am

Sep 14, 2011 by Irene S. Levine, PhD | Categories , , , , , , ,

teen friendshipsWe’re thrilled to welcome new blogger Dr. Irene Levine, PhD , to the Decoder community!  Dr. Levine is a clinical psychologist, an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of Best Friends Forever.  She also maintains The Friendship Blog , a blog about the nature, meaning, and depth of female friendships.

It always hurts to see a child or teen sad as a result of a friendship that has gone awry. One way to help your teen through a difficult friend breakup is to explain that it’s common for young people to change friends often.  Perhaps, this particular friend feels more comfortable with different kids than she did in the past. Maybe she wants to hang out with friends whom she thinks are more popular or cool, or something else like that.

Here are a few things you can do to help your teen:

1. Suggest to your child that she text her friend to see if she wants to get together in-person to talk about why she’s grown distant.  She might need a bit of encouragement and support from you to do this.

2. Help channel her energy into on making some new friends. (Here are suggestions for helping your child finding new activities that might interest her.) If she and her once-BFF are school chums and have some of the same friends, let her know that it’s best not to make their breakup obvious when they’re in public.  Encourage her to act politely in mixed company and among mutual friends.

3. Remind her that this friend breakup is probably more about her friend than it is about her and she deserves a better friendship than this one! Reiterate that friendships and allegiances change so often during the teen years that it’s likely her former friend may reach out to her at some point in the future.

4. Let her know that she will feel better soon. It might be helpful to talk to a parent or family member about this since most adults have experienced friend breakups before.

Has your teen dealt with a difficult breakup?  How did you help him or her handle it?

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