When we talk about positive relationships for adolescent girls, the focus tends to be on teaching them about healthy dating practices. But the reality is, positive peer relationships can be even more important for teen girls than romantic relationships.
During the pre-teen and teen years, girls begin to move from focusing on their family relationships to prioritizing their peer relationships. As they begin to have their own opinions and experiences, they want to connect with peers who have similar interests. Having positive peer relationships can help healthy teen development and build important interpersonal skills that will benefit them later in life.
The Benefits of Positive Peer Relationships
As our daughters become more independent and begin creating their own understanding of the world, we want to make sure that they are surrounding themselves with people who will support them and help keep them responsible and engaged. Here are just a few of the ways your daughter benefits from her peer relationships:
It is crucial for young women to learn the importance of surrounding themselves with friends who lift them up. The adolescent years can be prime time for queen bees and frenemies, but by teaching your daughter to be aware of these negative “friendships” she can better navigate those social situations. Encourage her to find friends who celebrate her accomplishments, and teach her to celebrate her friends as well. When your daughter feels emotionally safe in her friend group, it can help boost her confidence and self-esteem. A strong sense of self can also inspire her to step out of her comfort zone to try new things and she learns and grows.
Having a close group of friends is also a way that adolescent girls can check in with their own moral compass. If they are heading towards a choice that could have negative consequences, a healthy group of friends can provide some positive peer pressure. It is one thing for a parent to tell her not to stay out past curfew, but if friends are also following curfew and know the importance of boundaries, she is more likely to follow those rules.
A group of friends can also benefit your daughter’s mental health. Feelings of alienation can lead to depression or anxiety. When your daughter is feeling connected to a healthy friend group, she can feel safe enough to talk to them about problems that they may not want to talk to parents about. Maybe it’s romantic troubles or school struggles, but friends she can trust will provide an outlet for her to process those issues. It is important to cultivate positive relationships with your daughter’s friends yourself. If these friends care about your daughter and understand the importance of her family relationships as well, they will feel more comfortable coming to speak with you if your daughter is struggling with something beyond their scope.
Asheville Academy for Girls Can Help
At Asheville Academy focus on helping girls and AFAB ages 10 – 14 because we know how precious and special this time of life can be. We also appreciate how turbulent and uncertain these years can feel. We love this age and we love these students. This feeling pervades our community.
Our family-style community is supportive, nurturing, and close-knit. Our environment is purposely designed to provide space to develop friendships, repair relationships, and practice adaptive communication. Students heal from the inside out; developing strength, confidence, resilience, and self-worth. For more information please call (828) 469-0893.