Teens Toxic Friendship: At teenage phase, child do not know too much about relations. They remain confused about their relations or friends if these relations are good or bad.
They usually do not read between the lines. They get attracted towards fascinating things more than real things.
While it is true that at this stage the child is going through major biological, emotional, and physical changes. You can feel the changes in your child behavior and friends during this phase.
However, you start noticing some toxic or bad traits friends around your child. Your teens toxic friendship is deteriorating their behavior and your parental instinct kicks in.
It tells you that your teen is spending most of the time with friends you don`t approve off or you feel is not right for your teen.
You try to stop your teen or talk them out of the friendship, but you are unsuccessful or unable to find a suitable way.
And you are worried about your teen’s toxic friendships and fermis, and you don`t know how to deal with this situation?
Sounds familiar: Many parents experience this issue at teenage phase of their child. I sure did my teens toxic friendship got the best of both of us for few years.
My son was friends with a mechanic boy. Who in turn had friends who were school dropout and had nothing to do and wasting away time?
My son would go to this person’s garage and take for a spin the bikes that come to the garage for repair. He would take with him the other boys who came to the shop to kill time.
He started to bunk school and talk about why school is useless and a waste of time. How he could earn right that minuet being a mechanic. How he can enjoy life than wasting it in studies.
I could see that my teens toxic friendship took his hygiene for a beat. His behavior and attitude were atrocious and his mannerism stinked.
He was 15 going 16 yrs. old at that time and an embarrassment.
Fast forward couple of painful years to get over… Today he is 18 going on 19 yrs. old and I can tell you I am very proud of his responsibility, ambition, his outlook, and behavior.
In this article I have written from my experience with my teens toxic friendship and wisdom gained though after thought and failures.
And I hope it will be of some benefit to you and help you in your journey…
Topics covered in the Blog Post
- What is a toxic friendship?
- How to spot a toxic friend? (Character Traits)
- Alarm bells that your teens toxic friendship is affecting them
- 13 Reasons why your teen continues with a toxic friend
- Teens toxic friendship – Evaluation checklist
- How to get rid of your teen’s toxic friendship
- Important note to parents
What is a toxic friendship?
Your teens toxic friendship in simple terms it is an unhealthy relationship. It is something that does not have a positive impact and does not make the friends grow in a positive way.
Everyone usually recognizes by the friends they have around. The reason is that friends influence a person life in many ways.
So, it`s important to know about the friends your teen has with them and ow your teens toxic friendship affecting them.
Making new friend is usually very easy thing for teenagers but this can be a rot in your teens bones if they encounter and make friends with a person with toxic traits.
A toxic friend can change influence your teen and screw their head up. Toxic friends often cross your teens boundaries and try to let them down.
They can totally erode a person sense of self and can compromise their mental and physical health.
Your teens toxic friendship can make your teens to feel bad about themselves.
That`s why teens toxic friendship can suffer from insecurities and inadequacies with their self.
Moreover, teens toxic friendship can drain your teens positive energy and can make them weak emotionally and mentally.
How to spot a toxic friend? (Character Traits)
Here, I will discuss some bad traits of toxic friends. Look out for these traits and when you spot them have your antennas up. Watch out for the influence of your teen’s toxic friendship on your teenager’s life.
So be aware of the traits so you can easily spot any person that is not good for your child overall wellbeing and nip it in the bud.
Selfish and self-centered
Selfishness is a toxic trait. If you feel any friend of your teens is extra selfish not only about things related to his/her but also towards your teens or their belongings.
Everything that your teen has they need. And all conversations they have has to be about them. And help only if it benefits them.
Rebellious and stubborn
If any friend of your teens intentionally goes against your set of rules or force your teen to do the same thing then it is not a good influence at all. They like it their way always. It is my way or highway attitude.
Short fused and arrogant
You feel like walking on eggshells with them. They can burst out into a fit of rage anytime. They are also arrogant and think too highly of themselves. Can be bull headed at times.
Insulting, harsh, and rude Behavior
Rude or insulting behavior is an identifiable trait of a toxic friend. If any friend of your child uses unkind words or criticize your child.
When you spot your teen, friend make insulting or demeaning comments about your teen or others.
Manipulative and smart
These types of people use their smartness to manipulate people around them to get the output they desire.
They can eve resort to being a bully to get their way. Or play the damsel in distress. If they can get what they want.
Jealous and suspicious
They are jealous of you. Be it looks, appearance, possessions, your skills, talents etc… They are also resentful of your achievements and try to play it down.
They are also suspicious about everything and expects you to prove or substantiate what you are saying.
Devious and deceitful
They can be misleading, use underhand tactics, lie a lot etc. to get away with anything. Or to get what they set out to do.
Inconsistent and Untrustworthy
They tend to be fickle. Change their word often they lack consistency. Cannot be trusted. They gossip and talk behind your back. They exhibit erratic behavior. Sometimes they are all lovey dovely and sometimes they are cold.
Pessimistic and unempathetic
They have a negative outlook of life and happenings around them. They do not feel your challenge or pain. They just are unhappy themselves. Always complaining, winning about things, dissatisfied and can be fussy at times.
Opportunistic and cheap
They try and take advantage of whatever their friend can offer. These are the types of friends who keep asking for things and using your teen’s resources but will not give anything in return. Or do not give or share happily
Opinionated and judgmental
They are opiniated and pass strong judgements on or about a person. Can you their sharp tongue to cut their way through wit their harsh opinions and judgments.
Alarm bells that your teens toxic friendship is affecting them
Not everyone deserves your child friendship so you should be aware of your child friends circle. Toxic friends can destroy your child nature completely.
They influence your child in bad way. Attachment with toxic people can affect their mind and emotions.
These people can damage your child self-esteem and lead them towards stress and anxiety.
Below are the alarm bells that should ring when you spot these signs in your teenager. These are mainly related to the behavior and attitude changes in your teen after the entry of the friend in your teen’s life.
- If you see some sudden changes in your child behavior such as Your teen becomes more rebellious, questions your authority, threaten to run away etc.
- If your child experience low self-esteem or noticeably more guarded then normal,
- Suddenly make new friends and ignore their old friend for no clear reason.
- Your teen is isolating themselves a bit too much expect for the one friend.
- Is becoming more stressed and irritable.
- Your teen is becoming emotionally distant and starts to become secretive. Not telling you their whereabouts etc.
- Is erratic in their schedule. Suddenly dropping things to attend to friends need.
- Start having negative body image issues. Eating habits tend to change.
- Your teen starts to become anxious or depressed. Talks as if there is no hope in life.
- Starts to indulge in risk taking behavior includes violence and aggression.
- Has more than normal episodes of anger outburst and backtalks with you. Or tries to avoid topics when you are being your concern up.
- Your normally happy and bubbly teen starts becoming gloomy and unhappy.
- If you see your teens are overly influenced by any friend. Especially if it is accompanied by negative behavior.
- If your teen appears busy all the time and has little time for others or attend to their responsibilities. And appears tired and exhausted.
- Your teen belongings and valuable start going missing and when you enquire you get to know that your teen has “loaned” then to a friend.
To know more about teen rated issues and challenges browse though our detailed articles using tis link -> Parental challenges while raising teenagers.
13 Reasons why your teen continues with a toxic friend
There are many reasons why your teen continues with a toxic friend… Some of them are listed below…
As a parent it is important for you to know the primary reason/ hook that your teen’s toxic friend has on your teen to know what strategy to use to sever the relationship.
- Your teen is not aware that the friendship is toxic
- They feel responsible for the friend.
- Your teen feels guilt breaking up the friendship.
- The toxic friend and your teen have known each other for a long time. They feel loyalty towards them.
- Your teen feels emotionally blackmailed to be in the relationship
- Fear of the friend is stopping your teen to break up with the friend.
- Your teen has got used to the friendship and the way they feel in the friendship.
- Your teen has too many intertangled social circles where this friend is also part of
- Does not have any other friends to hang out with.
- Your teen does not know how to deal with the relationship and move forward.
- The teen lacks the courage to confront or break up, or let go and move on
- Your teen believes that things will get better eventually
- Your teen is caught is a situation where they are blackmailed or threatened to continue the friendship.
You might be interested to read our articles
- Self confidence
- Smart teen
Teens toxic friendship – Evaluation checklist
I have listed down the evaluation checklist that I have asked my teens to answer with a simple Yes/ No to gauge for themselves the strength of their friendship.
(Side Note: My son also used this to evaluate the type of friend he was.)
I will tell you how to tactfully use this in a short while…
- Are you happy and relaxed with your friend?
- Do you enjoy spending time with your friend?
- Do you feel secure and comfortable in your friendship?
- Can you say ‘NO’ to your friends request without worrying about the consequences?
- Can you trust your friend 100% with your secrets?
- Has your friend forced you to do something you do not like?
- Does your friend do things you do not agree to?
- Can you rely on your friend to be there when you need them?
- Do you and your friend hold same interest and hobbies?
- Does your value system match with your friends’ value system?
- Has your friend stood by you in your lows and highs?
- Do you tell and celebrate your achievements with your friend?
- Does your friend treat others the way you would treat them?
- Is your friend frank, honest, open, consistent in their words with you?
- Do you trust their opinion and judgement 100%?
How to get rid of your teen’s toxic friendship
Now that we have come thus far it is important to know how to proceed further…
You need to exercise patience and tact and take your teen along with you each step of the way to help get rid of the toxic friendship…
Just telling or ordering your teen or stopping your teen to not get involved with certain friends is not going to do the trick. It can in fact backfire.
Below is some guide to help you in this quest.
Identify the hook
I have listed above the common hooks I have found in my teens or that of my friends when we have interacted with them.
Each hook needs a bit more probing and different course of action.
E.g.: If your teens toxic friendship is based out of fear. Find out why they fear the friend. Wat influence do they think they hold on your teen. Do they bully your teen? Or is your teen afraid of being slandered or socially isolated.
Find the reason to plan your action on how to unhook your teen form the toxic friendship.
Narrate some stories with lessons
If you do not feel comfortable with directly asking them try to outline issues instead. Try to narrate some stories to them with moral lessons.
Because it is never a good idea to directly tell your child that they are not allowed to hang out with their friends. As we know in this phase of life teens are over emotional and over sensitive. May be the don`t listen to your advice in this matter.
Remind them of their self-worth and values
Remind your teens about their self-worth and your family values. Try to tell them such kind of friends are not according to their nature or according to their family values.
When child become aware of their self-worth and family values, they do not need any kind of friendship from such people and they will avoid such kind of toxic friends.
This will also help them to face challenges and have a good mental well-being.
Read more about these topics in our article face challenges and mental wellbeing, respectively.
Educate them about healthy and unhealthy relationships
Talk to your teen on how healthy relationship feels. Make them aware of the positives of a healthy relationship. Compare it with an unhealth relationship. (do not compare it directly with your teens toxic friendship. It will only make them defensive).
Talk about relationships in general. Get ideas and knowledge on these subjects so you know what to talk and how to talk to your teen from our articles
- Dating and relationship
Make them aware of their relationship
Here is where the toxic friendship questionnaire will be of help to you. As committed above I will tell you how to tactfully use the questionnaire.
Smooth talk with your teen and bring up the issue that you feel that <name of the toxic friend> is not of the right influence on your teen.
Your teen mostly will become defensive and try to defend the friendship.
Slip in the questionnaire and ask your teen to reply honestly to themselves the y/n questions in the questionnaire.
They can do it in private and need not even show it to you. If they share it with you great. Else respect their privacy.
The main reason for the questionnaire is to give some time for your teen to stop in their tracks and introspect on the relationship they are having.
Being aware of the problem is the first step towards working on the solution.
Help them establish ground rules with their friend
Help your teen to come up with and set ground rules basis what your teen think is acceptable for them.
Example if your teen feel that they can spend just half an hour with their friend everyday then that becomes the ground rule for the friendship.
Or If your teen feels that they would want to only hang out with their friends only during weekends then that is another ground rule that they need to set with this toxic friend.
Encourage them to guard the boundaries
One of the key traits of toxic Friendship is that the toxic friend always tends to intrude and come inside the boundaries of your teen.
They usually will have no regards to boundaries or personal space. Encourage your teen to insist and demand from their friend that these boundaries are respected.
Call out when ever there is a breach on the boundaries and follow through with consequences if it is outlines.
Point them to – ways to break up
If your teen agrees that they like to break up their toxic friendship them show them different ways to do it. Ask them to choose what they feel is the best and let them stick to it.
They can Slowly withdraw by spending less and less time with their toxic friends till they are completely out of it.
Your teens toxic friendship can come to an end by your teen confronting their friend and taking their decision to move on and asking them to respect that decision.
In extreme cases where things have spiraled out of control or your teens toxic friendship is not coming to an end amicably.
Then your teen can take drastic measures of cutting all ties, blocking numbers, unfriending them etc. If it becomes abusive, they can also take legal actions to get out of the friendship.
Know the course your teen is planning out and be supportive of their decision and watch out for relapse.
Partner with them and give them support
Partner with your teen in this journey. Give them the need guidance at each stage. Help them go through with their decision.
You can also give them support by enrolling them for hobbies classes that can give them diversion from this ordeal. Give them opportunities to make new friends.
You can spend more time with them to fill in the void or gap and provide reassurance.
You can also help your teen (if your teen is ok with it) to confront your teen’s friend to put across your teen’s decision firmly.
Important note to parents
You can`t give order to your teen about their friends. There is strong possibility they won`t listen you.
You must tackle this situation in a friendly way. Tell consequences to your teen about bad friends and ask them to take preventive measures about toxic friends.
The best way is to directly address the issue with your teen. Sit with your teen and tell them your feelings about the friend you don`t like. You can also ask what they feel about that friend.
May be your child feels the same thing and due to confusion or another hook, they are not able to come out or to decide.
Give direct open communication a shot.
Do not work on the sly. Take your teen along with you. Partner with them only then the result you will get will be permanent.
Toxic friends as well as toxic relation are a challenging situation for both parents and teens. To avoid these kinds of situation you should build a strong relationship with your child based on love and frankness.
Be approachable and non-judgmental. Be present and an active listener.
All this will result in you sharing a beautiful relationship with your teen. And they will end up openly talking about anything and everything with you. And you can nurture mentor and guide them on every problem they are facing.
Adolescence is a phase of your child growth where you can face such kind of issues. Do not panic in such kind of situation, with a well plan strategy you can easily save your child from their toxic friends. You should face this challenge with right and positive attitude.
Exercise patience and work along with your teen. Be consistent and do not resort to treats or blackmail. A firm hand with a loving grip you will be able to save your teen from such relationship and position them for much healthy positive and rewarding one.