Artwork for podcast How Not to Screw Up Your Kids
Teen Friendships
Episode 9927th April 2023 • How Not to Screw Up Your Kids • Dr Maryhan
00:00:00 00:31:42

Share Episode

Shownotes

Friendships can be hard at any time, however when you're also juggling a new school, raging hormones, and working out who you are it can feel like a whole new ball-game. I’ll share how we can support teens to build their friendships, how to spot an unhealthy friendship and ways we can support a shy / anxious teen to make friends. Whilst the focus is on the specific challenges teens face, the advice holds true for any age child.

Here are the highlights: 

(03:02) Keep the line of communication open 

(07:37) How to recognise the different types of friendship 

(12:37) An unhealthy or a toxic relationship? 

(21:38) Supporting a shy teenager 

(23:40) Internal back chat can be crippling 

(26:11) Help your children move forward 

Purchase your ticket for my inaugural It Takes A Village; Raising Resilient Adults conference on the 18th of April at Farnborough Hill School. Join me for a day of talks, and hands-on workshops covering topics ranging from confidence, neurodiversity, emotional regulation, online safety, nutrition, anxiety, stress, motivation and navigating the teen years (CPD accreditation available when purchasing a professional ticket).

Purchase your ticket for the next 60-minutes with Dr Maryhan 'Stop Battling Back-Chat' at 8pm GMT on the 22nd of May.

 Watch the Bucket Emptying Episodes on Youtube

Join the How Not to Screw Up Your Kids Community and ask Dr Maryhan your parenting questions in the weekly Q&A, access a library of digital courses, watch live/recorded 60-minutes with Dr Maryhan at your convenience, and in February your children can attend online workshops too. All for just £1.79! (you can cancel at anytime).

To access the free resources mentioned in the episodes visit https://drmaryhan.com/library  

Join our campaign One Million Moments to reduce the number of children struggling with mental health challenges from 17% to 10% by 2025.

Transcripts

Unknown:

Hello, and welcome to the how not to screw up your

Unknown:

kids podcast. So pour yourself a cuppa, find a comfy seat, and

Unknown:

enjoy the conversation. This is episode 99. And today's episode

Unknown:

of teen friendships, I'm talking about ways that we can support

Unknown:

our teens with their friendships, how to spot an

Unknown:

unhealthy friendship, and ways we can support maybe a shy or an

Unknown:

anxious teen that struggling to make friends. Now whilst the

Unknown:

focus is on the specific challenges which teens face, the

Unknown:

advice I'll share will work just as well for younger children in

Unknown:

many ways, too. And a lot of the foundation work that we can do

Unknown:

in terms of supporting our teens comes from some of the early

Unknown:

work that we can do when our children are younger. So it's

Unknown:

helpful for all ages. So let's start with some context. Now,

Unknown:

what we need, what we kind of need to be aware of is a bit of

Unknown:

a backdrop when it comes to helping and supporting our teens

Unknown:

with their friendships. Because this is a really crucial part in

Unknown:

what makes sometimes the sort of challenges that they face around

Unknown:

friendships different to the challenges that maybe our

Unknown:

younger children face. The first backdrop thing to remember is

Unknown:

that our teens are often transitioning from a dip from a

Unknown:

school where they have made early friendships when they were

Unknown:

much younger. And it was very much focused around play, to now

Unknown:

making new friendships when they are older. And coupled with

Unknown:

that, they may well have broken away from some friendships, the

Unknown:

school that they've gone to, they don't necessarily have

Unknown:

their support group from their younger primary school, and

Unknown:

younger ages. So that's, that's one of the backdrops. The other

Unknown:

thing is this backdrop of teens are beginning to learn and

Unknown:

discover who they are. They're trying on aspects of their

Unknown:

character, much in the same way as they might try on different

Unknown:

outfits. They're learning a little bit about who are they

Unknown:

what are the values that they have, what makes them them. And

Unknown:

along with that they are very heavily influenced by a desire

Unknown:

to fit in to be accepted. And this high aspect of comparison,

Unknown:

they're very aware of how they compare to their peers, and also

Unknown:

a belief that they're being judged in lots of ways by their

Unknown:

peers. Now, of course, they're all going through this, but for

Unknown:

your team, in their head, in their world. And in their

Unknown:

experience, it's very much on that into their basis, they're

Unknown:

not necessarily able to look beyond the judgment that they're

Unknown:

fearing and the comparison that they're making against

Unknown:

themselves, to necessarily be able to see that there are

Unknown:

others that are in a similar situation. So we need to be

Unknown:

aware of that backdrop, and how that shifts, the challenges that

Unknown:

they face around making friendships in a different way

Unknown:

to maybe our younger children. So what are the really important

Unknown:

things that we can do in terms of supporting our children. So

Unknown:

let's start with how we can help them in terms of sort of that

Unknown:

discussion around friendships. And the first thing I would say

Unknown:

is that we want to keep those lines of communication open. And

Unknown:

this is where if you're listening to this, and your

Unknown:

child hasn't quite yet hit those teen years, this is where you

Unknown:

can be doing the foundation work, is that making sure that

Unknown:

we keep those lines of communication open. And those

Unknown:

lines of communication aren't necessarily unraveling unpicking

Unknown:

friendships, but just having those lines of communication

Unknown:

where we can have conversations with our children and our teens

Unknown:

about things just generally. So it's really being aware of just

Unknown:

making sure that we keep those lines of communication open, so

Unknown:

that when issues arise, we can pick up on these early. So it's

Unknown:

just having those those conversations. And what I would

Unknown:

say when we're talking about keeping the lines of

Unknown:

communication open, it's remembering that teens,

Unknown:

particularly, but also children, when we're having discussions

Unknown:

with them, when we're asking them questions, and we're doing

Unknown:

it with that real concentrated eye contact, they're much less

Unknown:

likely to open up and engage in a conversation. Children and

Unknown:

teens particularly, are much more likely to engage in a

Unknown:

conversation when we're doing something side by side. And when

Unknown:

that conversation happens a little bit more naturally. So

Unknown:

those conversations that might happen when they might be

Unknown:

helping you prepare the vegetables for dinner, maybe

Unknown:

when you're having a walk, maybe when you're sat next to each

Unknown:

other watching some television or maybe when you're in the car.

Unknown:

It's where we avoid that intense eye contact, that intensity of

Unknown:

those questions that we asked about. How was your day? Who did

Unknown:

you spend time with? How were your lessons? How are other the

Unknown:

other people that you're hanging around with? It's those sorts of

Unknown:

situations tend to paralyze them. And that's where we tend

Unknown:

to get the shutters down, and the little grunts and the note,

Unknown:

you know that that lack of conversation. So it's making

Unknown:

sure that when, by keeping those lines of communication, we're

Unknown:

optimizing the opportunities where we can just have small

Unknown:

talk, where we're not Being intensive with the eye contact

Unknown:

where we're not bombarding them with multiple questions, but

Unknown:

we're just having a conversation around what might be at hand. So

Unknown:

really focusing in on keeping those lines of communication

Unknown:

open. And doing it in a way that encourages discussion rather

Unknown:

than firing one question after another question after another

Unknown:

question. That's one, one thing that we can be doing. The other

Unknown:

thing we can be doing is about having regular conversations. So

Unknown:

these don't become lecturing sessions, but much more about

Unknown:

calm their conversational around the qualities of what have a

Unknown:

good friendship, you know, what's important to your teen

Unknown:

about friendship? What matters to them? Is it that they're

Unknown:

trustworthy? Is it that they can have fun? Is it about shared

Unknown:

experiences? Is it that they need to be a good listener? Is

Unknown:

it that someone that makes them laugh? It's sort of just having

Unknown:

general conversations around what matters to them around what

Unknown:

a good friendship is, what are the qualities that matter to

Unknown:

your child? And what are the qualities that they themselves

Unknown:

bring to a friendship, you know, what qualities do they have,

Unknown:

that they believe makes them a good friend. And that's a really

Unknown:

crucial one to talk about. We'll talk about ways we can support

Unknown:

children who struggle making friendships, but being able to

Unknown:

identify what makes you a good friend is really important in

Unknown:

terms of raising that level of self worth self value for them,

Unknown:

so that they can understand what they bring in, but also that

Unknown:

understanding of what they're looking for what they're

Unknown:

seeking. Because we all seek slightly different things within

Unknown:

friendships. One of the common generalized trends that we see

Unknown:

is that girls and boys generally seek different things from their

Unknown:

friendships, boys typically seek what they want within their

Unknown:

friendships is fun, they want to have fun with their friends,

Unknown:

they want that that's, that's a really key driver in terms of

Unknown:

their friendships, whereas girls will be looking much more for

Unknown:

intimacy. So they want to be able to share secrets, they want

Unknown:

to be able to talk about things have in depth conversations. So

Unknown:

you will find that when you're looking at the differences

Unknown:

between how your how boys will seek friendships is that, you

Unknown:

know, boys that will quite often have friends through games that

Unknown:

they will play and their use of their devices, because they're

Unknown:

having fun together. So whilst it can be it can seem quite

Unknown:

frustrating to us as parents, because they seem to be spending

Unknown:

a lot of time on games consoles, and then, and then talking to

Unknown:

their friends that way, and maybe not necessarily going out

Unknown:

and meeting friends in the traditional way that we might

Unknown:

expect that girls might necessarily do. So it's being

Unknown:

able to recognize those differences. Of course, we want

Unknown:

to encourage our children, whether they're, whether we've

Unknown:

got daughters, or whether we've got sons, to have friendships,

Unknown:

not just online, and to nurture and cultivate friendships out of

Unknown:

the digital space as well. But it's, it's being able to

Unknown:

recognize that they're going to actively seek different things.

Unknown:

And they're going to have different qualities that they're

Unknown:

looking for in the friendships. And then it's being able to

Unknown:

recognize though, so it's keeping those lines of

Unknown:

communication open, talking about the qualities of a good

Unknown:

friendship, it's also recognizing that friendships

Unknown:

change with time, and that's absolutely alright, there's no

Unknown:

issue with that. So it's helping our teens be able to recognize

Unknown:

that the friendships that they might have had at 11, and 1213,

Unknown:

may well change as they go into their 14 1516. So that those

Unknown:

friendships are going to change with time. And that what that

Unknown:

might mean is that they're who they spend, who they're friends

Unknown:

with will also change. And that that's okay. And of course,

Unknown:

they're going to grieve the loss of that particular friendship,

Unknown:

but it's a natural transition in friendships, and one that they

Unknown:

should be welcoming, rather than feeling as a reflection of

Unknown:

something that they've done, or they're not such a good friend

Unknown:

because of it. So it's being able to recognize that

Unknown:

friendships can change with time. And also the each team,

Unknown:

each team, each child that we have, will have different

Unknown:

numbers of friends, some people who will be listening to this

Unknown:

podcast, some of you will be listening, and you'll have a

Unknown:

child who has multiple friends, they like to be friends with

Unknown:

lots of different people. And you'll have some of you will be

Unknown:

listening to this. And you'll have children who will want one

Unknown:

really close friend, they really value that super, super best

Unknown:

friend that they can go and spend time with all of the time.

Unknown:

So it's being able to recognize that that's, that's alright,

Unknown:

that's what makes your child individual. Obviously, we want

Unknown:

from a being able to nurture our children and allow them to not

Unknown:

necessarily be super reliant on one friend. Of course, we want

Unknown:

them to have multiple friends, but you may well have a child

Unknown:

who really just values that one friendship. And so it's being

Unknown:

able to recognize that and also being able to recognize that

Unknown:

that's all right, even though it may defer to you. We can't

Unknown:

remove you know the types of friendships that we have and how

Unknown:

our expectations of friends And then playing out. And there

Unknown:

being an element of that comparison of thinking, oh,

Unknown:

gosh,

Unknown:

you know, I'm really worried about my child, they've only got

Unknown:

one friend, and what happens if that friend isn't in school, and

Unknown:

how that then impacts them, where, you know, we're, we're

Unknown:

maybe somebody who's got multiple friends. So it's being

Unknown:

able to recognize and accept our child for how they are and how,

Unknown:

what they value in friendships and the number of friendships

Unknown:

that they have, it's being able to recognize that. And it's also

Unknown:

being able to help our team, our teens recognize that friendships

Unknown:

require work, we have to put effort into friendships that

Unknown:

don't just occur organically without any work, we have to put

Unknown:

some work in, we have to check in on how our friends are, we

Unknown:

have to invest some time and some effort in nurturing those

Unknown:

friendships. Now, when we start looking at what makes an

Unknown:

unhealthy relationship and what makes an unhealthy friendship,

Unknown:

when we're spending a disproportionate amount of time

Unknown:

with that, at the expense of all other friendships, then it may

Unknown:

not be a healthy one, but it is helping our to our teens

Unknown:

recognize that for a friendship to exist a good quality

Unknown:

friendship to exist a friendship that gives to us as much as we

Unknown:

give back to it requires some input from us, we can't just do

Unknown:

nothing. So that means checking in with our friends. In

Unknown:

holidays. It means nurturing them as an important in their

Unknown:

key parts, it's helping them recognize that it's a two way

Unknown:

thing. And the final thing in terms of just looking at

Unknown:

friendships generally, is helping them recognize that we

Unknown:

have different friends for different reasons and different

Unknown:

seasons. So it's helping them understand that there will be

Unknown:

some friends, that they will have maybe very specifically in

Unknown:

certain lessons, that those are friendships in those lessons,

Unknown:

but they don't necessarily transition across into holidays,

Unknown:

maybe into break times, or maybe that those friendships that they

Unknown:

might share struggles that they're having with those,

Unknown:

whereas they'll have other friendships that may well not be

Unknown:

in their classes, that they may will spend time with a break

Unknown:

times. Or it may be that they have friendships that are

Unknown:

outside school, outside lesson times, maybe in activities and

Unknown:

interests and hobbies that they have. It's helping them

Unknown:

understand that not every single friendship has to have the same

Unknown:

purpose, and that those friendships will serve different

Unknown:

purposes. But they may also be different friendships, for

Unknown:

different periods of time that they may go through, which also

Unknown:

helps them with this understanding that friendships

Unknown:

naturally change, they naturally evolve with time. And sometimes

Unknown:

we can have a friendship that starts at that beginning of that

Unknown:

secondary school experience, and then continues right through

Unknown:

into adulthood. But it might also not not it might be for a

Unknown:

very specific period of time. So those are kind of like the sort

Unknown:

of foundational aspects of friendships that we want to help

Unknown:

our teens understand. What we then really need to help them

Unknown:

understand is so that those are some of the aspects of sort of

Unknown:

what a healthy friendship looks like, how do we know when our

Unknown:

child might have an unhealthy friendship or maybe a toxic

Unknown:

friendship? Well, I think I would say that there are sort of

Unknown:

five general characteristics of an unhealthy or a toxic

Unknown:

friendship. The first is that that friendship may well be an

Unknown:

overly possessive and jealous with their time and effort. Now,

Unknown:

obviously, this will for those of you who are listening, and

Unknown:

it's very specifically for teens than this, the kind of the

Unknown:

characteristics are we're looking at, and not just around

Unknown:

friendships, but may well be in those early relationship of

Unknown:

girlfriend, girlfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend,

Unknown:

girlfriend, boyfriend. So we're looking at how some of these may

Unknown:

evolve beyond just friendships, but also relationships. So one

Unknown:

of the key one of those kind of sort of things to look out for

Unknown:

is where there's an overly possessive or jealousy around

Unknown:

protection of your teens time. So that relationship becomes

Unknown:

unhealthy. Where there's an overly possessiveness. Other

Unknown:

characteristics to look out for is that when we see changes in

Unknown:

our teens character or their habits, now, this can be a

Unknown:

difficult one to spot sometimes, because our teens are naturally

Unknown:

changing their character and their habits, because as I said

Unknown:

before, then that learning to become who they are. So they're

Unknown:

trying on these different hats, and these different

Unknown:

characteristics. It's where we see some very dramatic changes

Unknown:

in their character. So things that they used to really enjoy

Unknown:

doing, they no longer wants to do, and are beginning to

Unknown:

withdraw from things that would normally have been a real

Unknown:

passion of theirs or real interest of those. So it's where

Unknown:

we get these extreme changes, these extreme shifts, these

Unknown:

extreme habit changes that we will might be a bit of an

Unknown:

indicator that they're in an unhealthy relationship or

Unknown:

they're in an unhealthy friendship. What we might also

Unknown:

notice is that their aspirations change, maybe we've got a child

Unknown:

who was really musical who really enjoyed them you Sick,

Unknown:

who suddenly makes a sudden shift and is no longer

Unknown:

interested at all in their musical music, or maybe they're

Unknown:

really sporty, and then they suddenly have a an extreme shift

Unknown:

in that maybe they have real aspirations around animals or

Unknown:

being outside and you begin to see that. So these tend to be

Unknown:

these big shifts in their aspirations. The other thing

Unknown:

that we might also find is that the relationship or the

Unknown:

friendship itself tends to in now becomes quite intensive,

Unknown:

we're seeing real shifts in the intensity of that, at the

Unknown:

exclusion of all others. So we're beginning to see that

Unknown:

other friendships are being dropped, where they're not

Unknown:

spending time with others, or if they're in a relationship, that

Unknown:

they're not spending time at all with their friends, in the same

Unknown:

way. So it becomes very intensive in that relationship,

Unknown:

or that friendship with that one individual. And then the other

Unknown:

thing to look out for is this constant checking in. So you're

Unknown:

noticing that your teen is having to constantly check in

Unknown:

with that individual, often, and quite often, this tends to be

Unknown:

over the telephone. So then when notifications come up, they need

Unknown:

to respond very quickly, that there's this constant need to be

Unknown:

there being required to check in in some way. So those are the

Unknown:

sorts of things that we typically tend to see in an

Unknown:

unhealthy friendship or an unhealthy relationship. So if

Unknown:

we're spotting some of these things, you might not notice all

Unknown:

of these, it may be one or two, and it might start off slowly

Unknown:

and then build up. But if we're noticing those, what can we do

Unknown:

as parents? And what can we do? Maybe if we've spotted other

Unknown:

things that make us believe that the relationship or the

Unknown:

friendship that our teen is in is unhealthy? How do we help?

Unknown:

How can we kind of begin to support them? Well, the first

Unknown:

thing to do is that we should be communicating it goes back to

Unknown:

that keeping the lines of communication but let's be

Unknown:

interested in our teens relationship in our teens

Unknown:

friendships, let's ask questions. So this is not about

Unknown:

interrogating, but genuinely showing interest in talk to me

Unknown:

about this new friend that you've got. Talk to me about

Unknown:

this new relationship that you've started telling me what

Unknown:

you like about them? What how do you spend your time together,

Unknown:

what

Unknown:

interests you. So really, trying to actively engage in a genuine

Unknown:

way where we are actively listening? And it's really

Unknown:

crucial that we actively listen and actively listen is not about

Unknown:

listening, and then having the question the next question in

Unknown:

our head. Active listening is really listening with a

Unknown:

viewpoint of being able to paraphrase back to your team. So

Unknown:

what I think I'm hearing is that this, you really love spending

Unknown:

time with them, because they're really funny, and they make you

Unknown:

feel really good about yourself. So it's that kind of really

Unknown:

listening to understand, listening to be able to say back

Unknown:

and repeat back, not in every aspect, but to be able to kind

Unknown:

of really check in that we're understanding. And that's so

Unknown:

important, because our teen wants us to be able to

Unknown:

understand from their perspective, so when we're

Unknown:

really communicating and being interested in their

Unknown:

relationship, we want to do it in such a way that they feel

Unknown:

that we genuinely want to hear and that we are not passing any

Unknown:

judgment. Now, of course, judgment may will pop into your

Unknown:

head, you may be horrified at some of the things that your

Unknown:

teen is telling you about what they like about that about that

Unknown:

particular relationship or that particular friendship and what

Unknown:

it gives to them. But if we want to keep those lines of

Unknown:

communication open, it's about listening, to understand not

Unknown:

listening to judge to that's a really crucial thing that we can

Unknown:

be doing. Because we want to keep those lines of

Unknown:

communication open, because we want to keep aware of whether

Unknown:

that relationship is maintaining a healthy one or not. So that's

Unknown:

one thing that we really need to do. The other thing that we can

Unknown:

do is helping them set a healthy balance. So when we're talking

Unknown:

about this notion of this, if an unhealthy relationship about

Unknown:

constantly checking in, let's be the bad guy here, let's sort of

Unknown:

help them set healthy boundaries around their use of tech so that

Unknown:

they can then balance that relationship so it doesn't

Unknown:

become all consuming. So they're not constantly having to sort of

Unknown:

check in on notifications and respond and check in because we

Unknown:

can nip it in the bud. We can stop it. We can prevent it

Unknown:

becoming this big issue later on. And that toxicity and that

Unknown:

unhealthy relationship really festering and then becoming well

Unknown:

established. So we can help them around those boundaries, helping

Unknown:

them use their voice, helping them create boundaries, having

Unknown:

specific periods of time where we're tech free at home where

Unknown:

devices are put away. And we can be the bad guy because your team

Unknown:

can communicate well aren't off. My parents are really strict on

Unknown:

that. Love my phone between this time and this time, that's fine,

Unknown:

you can be the bad guy, but you're helping them establish

Unknown:

those boundaries really early on and create that balance really

Unknown:

early on. And if you're listening to the episode, and

Unknown:

you've got younger children who have not yet got devices, or

Unknown:

they're only just getting devices, that's a great way to

Unknown:

create those boundaries early on. And then the other thing is

Unknown:

about talking often about what really constitute constitutes a

Unknown:

healthy relationship. And what does that look like? It's about

Unknown:

mutual respect. It's about communication. It's about trust.

Unknown:

So again, we're not communicating this in a

Unknown:

lecturing kind of way. But we're talking around what are the key

Unknown:

aspects? What are the key important things that make a

Unknown:

healthy relationship? And how does that fit within the context

Unknown:

of the relationship and the friendship that they're

Unknown:

currently having. That's why the sort of the lines of

Unknown:

communication are so crucial if we're going to help support our

Unknown:

teens. So again, if you're listening to this preteens, or

Unknown:

you're listening to this with a teen, and you've not got to this

Unknown:

sort of unhealthy relationship aspect, by keeping those

Unknown:

channels of communication open, without judgment, without

Unknown:

lecturing without feeling, from your team's perspective, that

Unknown:

they're being bombarded with question after question, then it

Unknown:

means that we can have those conversations. And we can sort

Unknown:

of, you know, sort of interject very small comments around

Unknown:

talking around what makes a good, healthy relationship and

Unknown:

around mutual respect. So we're not necessarily saying, well,

Unknown:

this doesn't sound like that's a very healthy relationship,

Unknown:

because they're not being very respectful of you and your

Unknown:

boundaries. But it's much more probing questions around well,

Unknown:

how does that make you feel when they asked you to do this? Is it

Unknown:

something that you're comfortable with? How do you

Unknown:

feel that you might be able to communicate that that makes you

Unknown:

feel uncomfortable? And that you would rather that wasn't? How

Unknown:

are you finding you finding yourself able to say how you

Unknown:

feel, okay, you aren't, what do you want to do? How might I be

Unknown:

able to help? So that's why it's really important that we

Unknown:

actively listen that we understand that we paraphrase

Unknown:

back, because then when we are helping and supporting them,

Unknown:

it's a much easier conversation to have, because they feel that

Unknown:

we've been listening to them. So those are the things that we can

Unknown:

do around an unhealthy relationship, and ways that we

Unknown:

can support and potentially prevent them from happening in

Unknown:

the first place. What happens if we have got so this isn't the

Unknown:

last part is what happens if we've got a shy teen, or an

Unknown:

anxious teen or teen is just generally struggling with

Unknown:

friendships. And I think I've got sort of three broad tips

Unknown:

here. The first one is I would say is that we need to accept

Unknown:

them for who they are, and not try to change their character.

Unknown:

And this can be super tricky, if you are yourself super sociable,

Unknown:

because you might find this really difficult. But I think

Unknown:

the first thing that we need to do is just accept that they are

Unknown:

who they are. And they may not be the great socialite, or they

Unknown:

may be this might be a particular stage that they're

Unknown:

going through part of their development, and that they will

Unknown:

be but we have to accept that they are who they are. Going

Unknown:

back to that analogy, we're providing the scaffolding of the

Unknown:

rising build that our child has, we don't get to influence what

Unknown:

that final build is, we don't get to decide what they build.

Unknown:

Because we don't get to inhabit it, they do. So we have to

Unknown:

accept them for who they are, and accept that this is where

Unknown:

they are right now. So that's the first bit is we need to

Unknown:

accept them for that. The next thing is that most children will

Unknown:

want to form some form of friendships, our teens are no

Unknown:

different. But they will be riddled with a whole load of

Unknown:

angst and a whole load of judgment. So it's helping them

Unknown:

begin to identify what is that critical internal back chat,

Unknown:

which is making them feel nervous, making them feel shy,

Unknown:

making them feel overwhelmed, and preventing them from making

Unknown:

those kind of those first moves. And it could be that you might

Unknown:

have a teen that is so debilitated is so shy and so

Unknown:

overwhelmed, that they're spending a lot of their time

Unknown:

looking down, or maybe they're even withdrawing from all social

Unknown:

situations, and hanging out in the library a lot, reading a

Unknown:

book with, you know, removing themselves from social

Unknown:

situations. And it could be that they're doing that because

Unknown:

actually, they'd much rather be reading a book, but quite often,

Unknown:

and in my experience, that that can be a bit of a self

Unknown:

protection mechanism. I feel really anxious and I feel really

Unknown:

shy. I really don't know how to start this conversation. And so

Unknown:

what I'm going to do is I'm going to give myself something

Unknown:

like a book, or an activity that removes me for everyone else

Unknown:

that I then consume myself in, because then instead of saying

Unknown:

that I'm finding this really difficult and I don't know where

Unknown:

to start and I'm feeling awkward. I can just say I'd

Unknown:

prefer to be reading a book. So it's really, if we're keeping

Unknown:

those channels of communication open and we're having those

Unknown:

conversations it's being a To over a period of time, we won't

Unknown:

necessarily be able to get it all out in one go. But begin to

Unknown:

help them identify what is that critical internal factor that's

Unknown:

coming up, that is preventing them from making those first

Unknown:

steps that maybe is preventing them from just getting

Unknown:

themselves out of the library and at least into a social

Unknown:

situation, or at least helping them hold their head up. So that

Unknown:

they've got an opportunity to make eye contact with their

Unknown:

peers, or maybe instigating that early conversation or sending

Unknown:

that message to see if someone wants to spend time with them or

Unknown:

hang out, is being able to work out where is my child, my team,

Unknown:

what is a reasonable thing for them to be working on goes back

Unknown:

to that whole ladder analogy, what is the top of their ladder,

Unknown:

and it will be different for different teams, if you've got a

Unknown:

team who's literally removed themselves completely and is

Unknown:

hiding out in tech rooms or hiding out in the library, then

Unknown:

obviously, the top of that ladder is very different from

Unknown:

someone who is already engaging in social situations is hanging

Unknown:

out within a group, but is not making that initial move to

Unknown:

maybe try and meet up with with friends outside the school

Unknown:

context. So it's different for different children. And

Unknown:

fundamentally, we are looking at helping them move out of their

Unknown:

comfort zone and take one small step up that ladder to doing

Unknown:

something that makes them feel uncomfortable, but not so

Unknown:

debilitating ly uncomfortable that they're paralyzed. So it's

Unknown:

really helping identify what is that critical

Unknown:

internal back chat, so that we can then start moving them

Unknown:

forward, slowly, step by step. And then so the third thing is

Unknown:

about, we don't want to force things, we don't want to be

Unknown:

forcing something that doesn't feel comfortable to our team

Unknown:

yet. And instead, we want to focus on setting the stage, we

Unknown:

want to help them begin to problem solve with our support

Unknown:

about things that they can begin to do to be able to help them

Unknown:

move up that letter. So it might be about encouraging social

Unknown:

activities around your teens genuine interest so that they're

Unknown:

actually surrounded and around others who share things that

Unknown:

they're interested in. So that makes it easier, it might be

Unknown:

that it might be discussing small steps that they can take

Unknown:

to begin that that sort of social engagement in writing

Unknown:

might be around sending a message to someone and helping

Unknown:

them ComPilot it might be about looking up so that they're not

Unknown:

kind of constantly looking at their feet, it might be about

Unknown:

saying hello to one or two people to kind of help them

Unknown:

overcome that fear. So it's really working out what are

Unknown:

those small steps that they can take. And then it can also be

Unknown:

around encouraging them to roleplay. Now, you might be

Unknown:

listening to this and say, Mary, really, I'm gonna get my my team

Unknown:

to roleplay with me, Well, if your team feels supremely

Unknown:

awkward role playing that Hello, or that holding their head up

Unknown:

with you, then that is nothing compared to how supremely

Unknown:

awkward they're going to be feeling in doing this in their

Unknown:

real life social situation. So it's really being able to

Unknown:

position it in such a way that okay, of course, this feels

Unknown:

awkward, you're doing it with your parents. But if you can do

Unknown:

it with us that it will feel so much easier when you're trying

Unknown:

to do it in that in that real world social situation. But of

Unknown:

course, none of that is going to happen if we haven't laid the

Unknown:

foundation groundwork of keeping those lines of communication

Unknown:

open. If we're not regularly talking to our team, if we're

Unknown:

not having those conversations, just general conversations about

Unknown:

what's going on in their world, of course, we're not going to be

Unknown:

able to get them to roleplay. Of course, we're not even going to

Unknown:

be able to get them to talk to us about that internal back

Unknown:

chat. So at the basic level, if you're listening to this, and

Unknown:

you've got a team that you are aware you're looking on the

Unknown:

outside, you can see that they're struggling with their

Unknown:

relationships, and their friendships, but they're

Unknown:

communicating nothing to you at all. Then at that basic level,

Unknown:

we want to begin to open those lines of communication. And that

Unknown:

isn't asking them how their day is that is about just generally

Unknown:

being in the same space as them and talking about other things

Unknown:

that might be sort of irrelevant at that moment, not doing it

Unknown:

face to face as in eye contact, eye contact, but side by side,

Unknown:

beginning to get a glimpse of what does their world look like?

Unknown:

What are they interested in? What are they looking at? What

Unknown:

do they find interesting, sit next to them when they're

Unknown:

watching something that they've streamed? Ask them what they're

Unknown:

what they're watching. Why is it interesting to help get them to

Unknown:

explain it to you, if you've got a child that's gaming, do the

Unknown:

same. enter their world, get a bit of that experience of, you

Unknown:

know, help me understand what it is that you enjoy and what

Unknown:

you're listening to and what you're watching, not because I'm

Unknown:

going to pass judgment because I'm genuinely want to try and

Unknown:

understand and then begin to layer up these extra, these

Unknown:

extra pieces so that we're then in a position where they're

Unknown:

talking to us, and we can then begin to interject some of the

Unknown:

these things, it is difficult when it comes to our teens are

Unknown:

naturally going to want to break away from us, they're naturally

Unknown:

going to be much more communicative with their peers.

Unknown:

But if they're struggling with their friendships, we want to

Unknown:

make sure that we're open and we're available and that they

Unknown:

know we're there and that we're interested and that we're not

Unknown:

necessarily going to pass any judgment. So it's really looking

Unknown:

at where are we at, in those various different aspects of

Unknown:

how, what level of support can we provide for our teams?

Unknown:

Because a lot of it will depend on what's that level of

Unknown:

communication that we've got already. And if that

Unknown:

communication has been struggling, then that's the

Unknown:

foundation that we want to set first. So the my gift this week

Unknown:

is going to be these bullet points, it's going to be the

Unknown:

bullet points, looking specifically about what we can

Unknown:

do to help our children with friendships, looking at what are

Unknown:

the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship? And what

Unknown:

can we do to help support and then what are the things that we

Unknown:

can do to help a shy teen with those friendships as a bumper

Unknown:

give. And as always head over to my resource library where you

Unknown:

can get access to that. So it's Dr. Mary hande.com forward slash

Unknown:

library, where all you need to do is pop in your email address,

Unknown:

and you'll have instant access to this week's resource and all

Unknown:

the resources across all my other podcast episodes. As ever,

Unknown:

if you have enjoyed this episode, I would so love it if

Unknown:

you could follow and review this podcast so that others could

Unknown:

find us and we can spread the love. So until next time,

Follow

Links