Our children's friends help them to establish bonds beyond the family sphere and allow them to identify with a group of peers who are experiencing similar experiences.
But sometimes we wonder if this group actually helps our child to grow up in a healthy way, or is it a model of inappropriate identification. In the worst case, our child may surround himself with unhealthy friends who manipulate him, humiliate him or induce antisocial or self-destructive behaviors, such as the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or doing small acts of crime..
In the maturation process of our children there comes a time when there is a certain distance in our lives, at least that is how we parents feel. Boys and girls cease to need us for almost everything and we cease to be the obligatory models and references. They must finish building their personality and define their identity, and this must be done largely on their own. In this trip the group of friends will be of paramount importance, who go on to become fellow travelers. Boys and girls must test themselves, they must experience their desires and know their limits, which carries a risk and the opportunity to grow and strengthen their personality.
The maturation process presents ups and downs, and the formula of "if my son is mentally healthy and has not had problems in childhood he will have healthy friends in adolescence" is not always fulfilled. The truth is that there may be surprises, maybe something has been damaged and has not been perceived before. In these cases, parents should not blame ourselves or try to find what we failed in, we have to go ahead and try to help them in the best possible way. In other cases there are no surprises; An unstructured family, a traumatic childhood, an aberrant or non-existent education, a childhood disorder that is difficult to treat, and other circumstances of the past will easily lead the young person in search of unhealthy relationships.
Our children, especially in adolescence, are subjected to indisputable group pressure, and it takes a lot of willpower, social skills and personal security to say "no" when necessary, to avoid being involved in situations and actions. of which it is difficult to go back later. And this is not the only pressure that young people endure: new social trends, uncertainty about the future and the crisis of values do not help our sons and daughters find healthy friendships in their life trajectories..
The first of all is not to cut the communication channels, we must make them participate in our activities and decisions, respecting their silence and privacy, valuing their successes, taking an interest in their projects, listening to their opinions and criticisms, censoring their negative behaviors, but not themselves.
Let's not disqualify their friends, let's try to get to know them and if possible, also their parents, let's make them understand that we will continue to be by their side when they need us, let's know how to ask for forgiveness when necessary, and above all, let's be the role model that will remain in their su inside until you get it back to reorient your life.
With all this we do not mean that we have to be perfect and exemplary parents, we all make mistakes and there are circumstances in life that we cannot control, we only have to try to know them, love them and stay by their side, hoping that fate is favorable to them..
If, despite trying to communicate with them and understand their fears and concerns, the warning signs persist: they become isolated or irritable or violent, they are often absent from home or school, their school performance drops a lot, they are very passive and tired or too active and excited, your mood changes radically, and we suspect that your friends are influencing you negatively, then it will be necessary to consult with a specialist in child or adolescent mental health.