TEACHING YOUR YOUNG TEEN TO BE A GOOD FRIEND
Believe it or not, good friendship skills in the preteen and young teen years can influence dating relationships in the future.
Does your preteen or young teen know how to be a good friend?
If not, you can help. By helping your preteen or young teen learn to be a good friend you’ll be helping him or her develop healthy relationships now and in the future.
Define Good Friendship. Sit down and talk to your young teen about what he or she likes in a friendship – and share your thoughts about what it means to be a good friend.
Model Good Friendship. Even though it might seem that your young teen wants nothing to do with you, he or she is watching you. Be sure you are being a good friend to others so your child will see what good friendship looks like.
- Ask your son or daughter if other people treat each other the way he or she would like to be treated.
- Encourage your preteen or young teen to respect himself/herself and to respect those around him/her.
- Be a good role model – respect yourself and those around you!
Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander
There is evidence that bullying may be an indicator of future victimization or perpetration. To help stop dating abuse and violence in the future and to promote responsible behavior among preteens and young teens, help stop bullying now. Teach your preteen or young teen to be an upstander, not a bystander, to help stop the cycle of bullying.
- Explain to your child that for every bully and every victim, there is usually a witness. If a witness does nothing when they witness bullying, they are a bystander.
- Brainstorm with your young teen how he or she can help by reaching out – as a friend—to targets of bullying. He or she can sit or walk with the person being targeted and help him or her connect with others.
- Encourage your son or daughter to be an upstander by speaking up and/or reaching out in friendship to victims of bullying.
- Take the pledge. Visit SchoolClimate.org to learn more about bullying and to encourage your son or daughter to take the “Stand Up Pledge.”
Settling Arguments and Disputes
Help your young teen develop skills to resolve conflicts.
- Let your child negotiate conflicts with siblings or friends on his or her own before stepping in.
- Model conflict resolution skills when talking with your child and when you have conflicts with others. (Remember, they are watching you!).
- Use role play to show how to resolve conflicts.
- Teach your child how to calm down – e.g. taking deep breaths – when they are upset or angry.
Stop Negative Behavior
Teach your preteen or young teen that he or she has the power to stop negative behavior:
- Good friends do not repeat rumors.
- If your preteen or young teen sees a bullying or dating abuse situation, he/she should approach an adult and be willing to be an honest witness.
- If he or she receives an inappropriate message or picture on a cell phone, he or she can and should refuse to pass it on.