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Concerned About Your Child's Friends? A Guide to Recognizing Red Flags in Friendships

Concerned About Your Child's Friends? A Guide to Recognizing Red Flags in Friendships. friends bullying

Recently, many kids and teens I've worked with have been opening up about their friendship struggles. They find it hard to tell if a friendship is healthy or not, and when it's time to fix things or move on.

Friendships are crucial during childhood and adolescence—they provide companionship, support, and opportunities to learn. But not all friendships are as great as they seem, and that's where adults can step in to offer guidance. Let's delve into some common red flags to watch out for in a child's friendships.

Red Flags in a Child's Friendships

Peer Pressure:

  • Friends shouldn't push each other into doing things they're not comfortable with, like skipping school or trying drugs. Also, keep an eye out for signs of a child feeling pressured to bully or exclude others in order to fit in.

Exclusion and Bullying:

  • Being excluded or bullied by friends isn't okay. Look for signs of social isolation, teasing, or cyberbullying. Friends should make each other feel accepted and included.

Manipulation and Control:

  • Be wary of friends who try to control or manipulate each other. Signs of manipulation might include always demanding attention, telling the other person how to behave, or using guilt to get their way.

Lack of Empathy:

  • Good friends show empathy—they understand and support each other's feelings. If a friend doesn't seem to care about your child's feelings, it might not be a healthy friendship.

Dishonesty and Betrayal:

  • Trust is crucial. If a friend lies, spreads rumors, shares secrets, or breaks promises all the time, it's a sign that the friendship might not be strong.


  • If someone tries to physically hurt your child or threatens them to get what they want, it's a serious problem. Parents should have a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence in their children's friendships.

Personal Attacks:

  • If a friend discriminates against your child or makes hurtful remarks about their lifestyle, body, choices, race, or religion, it might not be a good friendship after all.

By recognizing these red flags and taking proactive steps, parents can help their children foster healthy and supportive friendships that contribute to their well-being and growth. Concerned about your child's friendships? Not sure what the first step to take is? Contact us for extra support!

Wondering what are the foundations of healthy friendships and how to nurture positive friendships in your children?


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