By Stephanie Betzler, GalTime Associate Producer
Helping Your Teen With a Best Friend It has happened to most of us at one point or another. Whether the result of a huge, "Jersey Shore"- style screaming match or a more subtle and gradual distancing, the majority of women have experienced (or witnessed) a best-friend "breakup." Knowing how difficult such situations can be, it can be almost as tough just to watch someone go through the same thing, especially when that someone is your daughter.
With some help from Irene Levine, NYU psychiatry professor and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Break-Up With Your Best Friend , we've assembled some tidbits of advice for helping your daughter deal with this troublesome time.
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Firstly, Levine advises parents to listen. Allow your daughter to "express her feelings and concerns" and let her know "that you know how upsetting a breakup can be but the feelings are the worst at the beginning," she says. Levine also points out that "showing" her that you not only understand but sympathize with her situation will allow her to feel more comfortable opening up to you about not only this situation but others like it.
After you've listened to her concerns, says Levine, "remind her that young people often change allegiances and the rift might be temporary." Especially with younger girls, friendships can begin and end and begin again all in the same day. After you have spoken with her and given some perspective on the situation, encourage your daughter to "speak to her friend and find out what's wrong."
Misunderstandings often can be cause for arguments amongst friends. Furthermore, says Levine, if your "daughter did something wrong or didn't do something she should have," remind her "she should be the first to offer the olive branch and apologize." She goes on to say it is often very difficult to be the first one to come forward and say sorry, so by giving some encouragement, you can help your daughter to take the first step in mending her friendship. However, "if the friend won't accept her apology," Levine reminds parents to "explain that sometimes people need a cool-off period."
Furthermore, as difficult as this may be for your daughter to understand or accept, "if constant arguments and misunderstandings preceded the breakup, it may be that the friendship wasn't a very good one" to begin with, reminds Levine.
Sharing your own breakup story may also help her to understand, thought it is unfortunate, "that not all friendships last forever." Also, do not forget to "encourage her to act kind and graciously to the friend." Remind her to always act in a dignified and respectful manner and to continue to "remain active and stay involved with other friends," Levine suggests.
Though certainly not the easiest experience to go through, your child can learn valuable lessons not only about her own friends, but herself and other interpersonal relationships, in general.
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