We have all experienced our share of best friends that our parents usually warned us about. However, we did continue to harbor those toxic friendships during our childhood. The good part is that those experiences have prepared most of us for the rapidly changing relationships of adulthood but have surely left a bad taste in our mouths.
As a parent, it is obviously painful to see your child face the same situation and get involved in a toxic friendship with someone. So, you must look for signs if your child is belittled or teased in any manner.
Signs of a toxic friendship
Here is a list of signs that hint toward your child having a toxic friendship.
Your child’s self-esteem is attacked
If your child’s so-called friend constantly teases or undermines his or her abilities and self-esteem, you need to be conscious right away. Moreover, if the same friend teases your child in a social situation and laughs it off as a joke, then this person is not only toxic but also a great manipulator.
A case of power imbalance
If your child makes plans according to his or her friends, then there is a case of a power imbalance between them. You must see to it if the said friend is inflexible to the time schedule of your child and wants things to be done their way. You need to be more conscious if your child keeps wanting to please them desperately.
On and off friendship
You need to see if your child’s friendship with someone goes on and off due to frequent fights and gets easily resolved until toxic behavior shows up again. An instant example is a so-called friend badmouthing your child and spreading rumors when their friendship is off. You must warn your child against such frenemies.
How to avoid your child from getting into toxic friendships?
Firstly, you need to engage in a healthy discussion with your child about the friends you think are toxic and harming his or her self-esteem. However, you must try to be as rational as you can. If possible, you can try citing real-life examples of your own life to help your child understand better.
Moreover, it is crucial for you to let your child know that you are on his or her side when talking about toxic friendships. You must not forbid them outright from meeting their friends. Doing so will simply send them running in the opposite direction which is more toxic than you can just imagine. Moreover, try not to attack that particular friend as your child may try to take it personally.