Sometimes meeting someone just clicks – you start being comfortable with them. They suddenly become one who knows your whole life as well as with whom you never have to pretend to be someone or something. You start sharing thoughts, confusions, joys, sorrows, laughter, cries, and moreover LIFE. That person undoubtedly is “A FRIEND”.
Friends support socially and emotionally, they help in removing our loneliness, also help us to feel happier and satisfy with life. But sometimes this person can be a one who is not correct for us. Sometimes some friendships might not have positive effects, friends may drain you mentally and can bring you down instead of bringing up. Such friends are TOXIC FRIENDS.
Wondering how to recognize a toxic friendship? Not sure about the ways of dealing with the situation or its effects? Lets lighten some of them.
Signs of toxic friendship that can be noticed in your child
As a parent when you will talk to your child you will feel some changes in him. A toxic friendship ultimately results in low self-esteem, high self-doubt and other high-risk behaviour. You will notice that your child will start isolating himself from social circles and may even like to live alone in their room when at home. This is how your child who don’t have healthy friendships could eventually suffer from cycle of depression and anxiety. Spending time with those who doesn’t bother about your child, who ultimately are affecting mental, emotional or physical health of your child is complete waste and unhealthy.
Sometimes your child will blame himself for his friend’s behavior, his self-esteem and self-confidence will hit, his grades will starts falling, on arrival of any particular friend his temperament will change suddenly, he will start lying or sometimes cry after fighting with that friend and then eventually will patche up.
Is this sounding familiar to you? If yes, surely then it is a clear indicator that your child is in a toxic friendship and immediate re-evaluation is needed. So here are some points that can help you save your child from such friendship.
Measures to be taken to deal with the toxic friendship
Now as you have monitored your child and understood about his friendship. Being a parent of a teenager you must understand the criticality of the situation. You can very well understand that he will try new things and you can’t control it as children of this age believe that they are old enough to deal with every situation in their life. Now as you have understood everything, before taking any action, monitor the deepness of the relation of your child and his friend from distance. If its deep, in such case you have to indirectly talk to your child, in a storytelling way or as sharing an incident of your life. “There were times when I was your age when I felt like this too”. Empathizing the child’s feelings this way allows them to feel understood and connected to you. You have to be very soft and polite in your approach and focus on your child instead of his friend, as talking about his friend may backfire you. This will help in an open communication instead of screaming.
Now you have to be most effective in your techniques of handling the situation. Here are some ways that may work according to the situation and behavior of your child.
Listen to them with open heart and without screaming understand them and make them understand what you want. Parent as a friend is a best relation for child. Try to be your child’s BFF.
Maintain trust of your child by assure him that you will not talk regarding this to his friends, relatives or anyone in the school.
Give an open-end to your child to speak. When the child opens up, again empathize with the feelings. “You have the right to be hurt. What happened with you is not worth. If I would have been at your place I would hurt too”. This way will catch his trust and child will open every aspect in front of you.
Be polite and patient with the child. As since some days, months or may be some years the child is seeing the toxicity, you have to be in contrast, very polite and patient while dealing with him and his situation.
Try to illuminate the toxic friend’s impact by making your child understand that he should not do such things with others as well in return.
Help your child to explore more friends with confidence in himself from other circles or approach former friendship that faded due to unhealthy boundaries.
You being a parent has to confront the situation without imposing restrictions, criticism, making straightforward comments about conduct. Be prudent and use various smart tacts(as you are smart enough parent, for sure. Talk to your child about goodness of virtues and values, what is right and what is wrong. Rightness has to be taught to children to make them decide about themselves. Explain that nobody can make them do what they don’t want to. This is the moment to shine as a parent, as you are sowing the seeds of what is right and saying ‘NO’ for wrong.
Moreover, mistakes are made to learn. Be firm and shower your love with the sense of being strict when required. Excessive pampering will ruin your job of shaping them. Physical and psychological punishments like shaming them in front of all will scare them and you will no longer possess them.
At the end I would quote
“A true friend would always love you—the imperfect you, the confused you, the wrong you—and accept who you are, but also help you become who you should be.”