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Talking With Teens About Peer Relationships

Friends are really important to teens. And as teens grow, parents recognize that friends play bigger and bigger roles in their lives. They become romantic partners. They help teens develop social skills, try new activities, and provide them with lots of support and encouragement. Through their friends, teens figure out a lot about themselves and who they are becoming. Teens who have trouble forming positive friendship relationships can struggle in many areas of their life.

On the other hand, parents often worry that teens’ friends aren’t always good influences. They may isolate, tease, or bully each other. They may promote attitudes and behaviors that parents don’t like. And they can put a lot of pressure on each other to be sexually active; use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; and engage in other risky behaviors.

Even though parents can’t control teen relationships, they have a lot of influence on their teens’ friendship choices and the quality of those relationships, including romantic relationships. Through both your modeling and your actions, you can guide your teens toward the kinds of positive peer relationships that help them make better choices and grow up successfully.

Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on July 2, 2019