Monday, June 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: Do Your Know Your Teens Friends?

One of the more nerve-racking part of raising teenagers is their friends. That’s because friends are profoundly influential to our kids. And, sometimes they look and act funny and as a parent you just don’t know what to think. No longer are WE the main source of information and influence (although I’d like to think the influence we wield is stronger - forgive me if I’m delusional)
Giving this some thought, I decided to research the subject and I put my comments in italics next to the “experts”. Here are the changes from tween to teen (when it comes to friendships):

They spend more time with their peers/in person and online (that would include 1000’s of texts that burn up a cell phone)

They are more mobile than when younger so more time is spent with peers without parental supervision (God help me when ALL the friends have a driver’s license, I may just have to be committed)

Increased contact with opposite-sex peers (It’s good you say? Yes, you’re right for girls, not so much for boys - see below. Heck, we don’t have much control over this any way)

In the early teen years, small groups of friends or cliques are formed which can help or hurt depending on your child’s association. ( I read this and all I could think of was the “Mean Girls” )

Another feature of the teen years is the emergence of crowds. Teens use crowds to figure out who to associate with. Crowds help teens sort peers into groups of people they would like to spend time with and those they wouldn’t. Through crowds and cliques, teens show other people who they are. (OK, this one doesn’t exactly make sense - what about the huge number of grown men who attend stadium- sporting events?)