Having taught in a high school for over ten years, I’ve seen more drama unfold in one school year than you might see in just one season of Real Housewives of Atlanta! That’s a lot. I cannot even begin to add up the number of times I’ve had conversations with students about choosing their friends wisely.  Here are a few suggestions for helping your teenager foster healthy relationships both in and out of school.

1. Understand that even the best relationships can cause stress.  I love both of my best friends immensely but there have been times that they’ve completely stressed me out.  The best friendships are the ones where you can go a couple of days or so without talking and then pick it back up right where you left off. (photo credit here)

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2. Don’t try to be someone else to please someone. In the same way, respect what is different about your friend.  Understand each other’s differences and understand there is a balance of give and take in a good relationship.

3. Speak up when something is bothering you.  A good friend should make you feel safe enough to talk it out instead of making you feel forced to keep it bottled inside. (photo credit here)

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4. If you disagree on something, find a compromise!  Your friendship should be too important to allow something insignificant (and even those things that feel significant) to ruin it.  Find a happy compromise and if not, just agree to disagree.

5. A good friend doesn’t monopolize all of your time.  If your friend gets extremely jealous because you want to hang out with your family or another friend, you may need to have a chat.  If that doesn’t work then you may need to determine whether or not this relationship is the right thing for both of you. (photo credit  here)

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6. A good friend encourages you to be the best version of you.  My best friends can tell me when I’m at fault in a situation and they also encourage me when I’ve handled situations well.

Finally, demonstrate the type of relationships that you want your teenager to have.  You are their first and most important teacher.  Make it a lesson worthy of learning!