Peer Support for Teenage Girls
Many parents put so much focus on their teenagers’ academics and productivity, though friendships and peer support are just as important, if not more so. Without peer connections, teenage girls can lack a vital aspect of their growth and progress in life.
Teenage Girls and Friendships
Young women’s teenage years are critical to their development. This is the time signs of mental health disorders may show up. Open peer communication and social support are key aspects of coping with stress, difficult emotions, and drama.
Although speaking to adults like parents, teachers, or therapists is beneficial, even essential in some circumstances, many teenagers worry about the repercussions of speaking up about mental health issues. Seeking support from trusted peers often feels more secure for teens looking for comfort and compassion.
During the teenage years, girls experience various social, emotional, and hormonal changes. As they age, they seek independence, a stronger sense of self, and a unique identity. Creating friendships allows teenagers to build trust, social skills, and confidence.
Teens are more likely to seek out support from peers when struggling with mental health issues. A friend’s listening ear increases the odds of opening up to parents and seeking out further help from professionals. Promoting friendships among teenage girls benefits their progress and wellness.
The Importance of Peer Support for Teenage Girls
Teens are at a high risk of developing mental health conditions. One in every four or five youth meets the criteria for a lifetime mental health disorder associated with distress. Teens’ rapid development tends to expose signs of mental health disorders.
For teenagers, connecting with others and building strong bonds allows them an outlet that reduces stress, anxiety, and even depression. These bonds can be built through clubs, sports, and digital platforms.
Although being influenced by peers has long been considered negative and aligned with peer pressure, that is not always the case. Influence from peers can also be positive. Teenagers may look to other teens to find out who they are and differentiate themselves from their parents or older siblings. Being able to connect with their peers provides them with guidance and motivation.
The support that teens receive from peer friendships isn’t just a means of connection. Teens can share experiences, seek and offer advice, gain mental and emotional support, and even learn from each other. Plus, this open dialogue about stress, mental health, and coping strategies is key to fighting the stigma around these topics.
Peer Support vs. Parent Support
Getting reassurance from peers after a stressful event like a breakup, school failure, or problems at home helps teens feel less lonely. Where adults often think they know better, teenagers listen to each other and can offer unbiased support rather than unsolicited advice.
The lives of teenagers are changing rapidly. A parent’s experience as a teen is very different from today’s teen experience. Due to the rapid evolution of technology and information dissemination, teens today have very different struggles from their parents that parents may not fully grasp. Although talking to one’s parents is essential, peer support can offer a distinct level of comfort.
According to a 2015 article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, “It has been reported that a growing number of young people use the Internet to seek help and information regarding their mental health and 93% of young people report being online on a regular basis.” Although harmful in some ways, using the internet as a means of information and validation can also provide affordable access to more knowledge and understanding peers.
How to Nourish Supportive Friendships
Although teenage friendships can be filled with angst and drama, learning from these bonds is what helps build young women’s trust, openness, and understanding as an adult. These connections are vital to teen girls’ mental well-being and overall success.
Nourishing these bonds and keeping them as healthy as possible helps positively add to one’s life. Below are some ways to foster supportive friendships.
Although teenagers are still growing into their personalities and interests, honesty as a focus in their friendships is essential. Without trust in a friendship, it can become unhealthy and even volatile. Teens should be honest with friends and expect honesty from them.
Stay True to Yourself
Although learning from peers can be beneficial to open up teens’ horizons, being pressured into poor choices is reckless. Having friends who are respectful of their friends’ choices and lack harsh judgment is key to creating healthy bonds.
Look for Positive and Negative Patterns
Good friends will be reliable. They will show a pattern of support and respect. It is important to seek out friends who share a teen’s outlook on friendships. Similarly, it is vital to look out for negative behaviors. When someone spreads rumors, lies, or tries to pressure someone, distancing oneself from that person allows peace and security.
Socialize Your Way
No one ever has to go to loud parties or spontaneous, rowdy outings. Teens can socialize however they are comfortable. If they prefer to go to the mall, go to dinner, or just have friends over for a movie night, they should be allowed to do what makes them most comfortable. Connecting online can be a way to receive peer support without a physical presence, but it is good for teens’ health to also have in-person interaction.
Teenage friendships help teens discover who they are and send them on their path into adulthood. Those are also the people they rely on in stressful times. Making friendships a priority during teenage years is vital to healthy social, emotional, and mental progress. At Havenwood Academy, we don’t just offer family therapy, education, and treatment; we know that peer bonds are a vital part of a young woman’s journey. In our program, girls will interact with their peers to create genuine connections, learn how to build trust, and maintain motivation. We provide multiple group therapy options for our residents to work on strengths and improve all aspects of their lives. If you have a teenage daughter who needs extra attention for help with trauma or mental health issues, Havenwood Academy can help. Call us at (435) 586-2500 today to learn more about teenage friendships.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
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