Liking your Teen’s Friends
If you’re a relatively balanced person, it’s probably your desire to get along with everyone. However, most of us know from personal experience that there are times when two people simply don’t click. Sometimes, one person may have a habit or personality trait that annoys the other, and other times, the exact reason for the clash is more subtle and difficult to pinpoint.
Too Annoying For Friendship, Too Good for Banishment
As you move forward on your journey with your teen, there will likely be times when you have a genuine reason to disapprove of her/his friends. Maybe you find out that some of them party or are sexually active, and you feel this would be a negative influence. No one would blame you if you wanted to forbid your teen from hanging around these types, but what do you do when a friend isn’t doing anything majorly wrong yet still gets on your nerves?
1. Practice Acceptance
As much as you might not like it, your teen has the right to choose her own friends. You can attempt to help her by introducing her to kids you think you both might like, and you can attempt to ban certain people from her life if you believe they are dangerous, but at some point, you’re going to need to let go and allow her to make these choices on her own.
2. Make an Effort
Sometimes, it takes a little time to get to know a person, and if you make the effort, you could begin to see through the cloud of annoyance and realize that your teen’s friend does have some redeeming qualities. Whenever she’s hanging around, make an effort to start a conversation and see if the two of you might share some common interests, such as a love for Brad Pitt or a favorite type of pizza. Finding even one area where you connect can make a huge difference.
3. Look Within For Insight
Try to examine why you’re so bothered by this person. Does she remind you of someone you don’t like? Is it a specific habit or personality trait, such as fingernail biting or interrupting people while talking? Do you dislike something that she brings out in your teen? Whatever it is, being honest with yourself will help you figure out how to best deal with it.
Remember that friendships ebb and flow a lot during the teenage years, and chances are, your teen may not be best friends with this particular teen two years from now. If she is, then perhaps you might need to make a bigger effort to understand what your teen likes about her friend. Even if you never understand, it’s important to let go and attempt to show love and kindness whenever you can. Loving your teen is about respecting her as an individual, and this means you will also need to respect her choices in friendship.