Did you know that healthy relationships are vital to your teen’s mental and emotional wellbeing? Learning how to help him develop supportive friendships today can give him an addiction, depression and anxiety-free tomorrow.
Humans are social creatures.
We’ve been living together in groups and forming societies since the beginning of history, which is a strong indication that social interaction is a basic human need. As a result, even the antisocial or introverted among us need some social contact in order to thrive.
Through forming relationships with others, we meet our needs the way we’re meant to – instead of reaching for substances to fill the void. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for everyone to form healthy relationships on their own. Your son might find it difficult to build meaningful friendships amidst the stress of school and the confusion of adolescence. He might have social phobias or anxieties that get in the way.
How Relationships Formed as a Teenager Affect Your Future
If your son doesn’t build strong relationships as a teenager, he may encounter some problems as he grows older. Good relationships help teens develop a sense of self-worth, and this can lead them away from the depression and substance abuse problems that could eventually require professional addiction treatment.
Adolescence is the age in which most people begin seriously seeking their personal identity. Many of us had a hard time trying to ‘fit in’ during high school, juggling our identities while trying to maintain good relationships with the ‘cool’ kids, or the people we aspired to be like. You likely experienced something similar; your son will, too.
Is There Such a Thing as Having Too Many Friends?
Recent studies have shown that those who had a single, very close friendship during their teenage years emerged into adulthood with a greater sense of self-worth. They were also less likely to experience chronic anxiety and depression. Conversely, teenagers who maintained a bunch of looser friendships with many different people were more likely to experience anxiety and develop drug addictions.
One prominent study on teenage relationships followed 169 people over the course of ten years, beginning when they were 15 years old. The study evaluated the quality of the subjects’ personal friendships, and deduced that teens with more intimate friendships developed into more stable adults than those who had many friends.
A single close friend gives you a safer avenue to explore and express your own personality, while being able to rest assured that the person closest to you won’t judge you or look down on you for being yourself. This helps your son build a solid sense of self-worth, and in turn, helps him stride into adulthood with more confidence.
The Best Prevention Tool: Happiness
Young adulthood is a tumultuous time. Young men are often going through more emotions than they know how to recognise, or may even be aware of. Early warning signs of addiction can start to show during this time, including:
- Extreme boredom
- Lack of meaning
- Lack of purpose
But when young people are dedicated to close friendships, more of their time is spent laughing, smiling, and enjoying life. When they have a positive self-image, strong social support network and plenty of healthy activities to fill their time, the anxieties that drive substance abuse and addiction are kept at bay.
Forming Lifelong Friendships at The Edge
One of the things participants like most about the Edge is that they come away from their time here having formed friendships that last a lifetime. Part of what makes it so difficult for at-risk young men to make lifestyle changes is that they’re constantly immersed in the same environment; influenced by the same peer group. This is why it’s so crucial to make non-using friends and form relationships around common interests, compatibility and genuine attributes.
The Edge’s unique programming is designed specifically for young men, encouraging camaraderie through the challenges of intensive physical training, wilderness therapy and group activities. For a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help your son, contact us today.