Adolescentes caminando

[:en]The Role of Friendship in Adolescence[:]


It is no secret that adolescence is the point at which parents naturally lose part of the bond with their children, and this represents fear.

In addition, there is a reluctance to let go and give them the necessary space with certain freedom and accompaniment without suffocating them. It is a fact that no parent wants their child to face the common adversities of life, but part of living life with freedom is to assume the responsibility of making one’s own decisions, facing mistakes, stumbling, and sometimes we adults believe that the best thing to do is to lock young people in a glass box.

This stage is crucial because it represents a transition from the image of the ideal parent, from the child-child role that asks or demands, to the real image, thus developing a new type of relationship from the child-adult role, who understands and knows a human parent (not idealized), with mistakes and imperfections.

Frequently asked questions

Why do they prefer their own age group?

Because they feel identified, they share the same experiences and understand each other easily. They are among the few with whom they empathize and feel really listened to.

On the other hand, they are the ones who represent their future, while adults represent a portal to the past. Because contemporary people are “novels” and adults are “retrograde,” they arouse more attraction and interest than the family can provide.

Their environments have always been “controlled” by adults, which is why it is vital to give them the opportunity to play a participatory role, to listen to them and not speak for them. Have you ever thought about whether we really listen to young people at home? What do we ask them about what they think, want, or feel? How often do we really accept their ideas, comments, or suggestions?

Why do they care so much about belonging and approval?

The other key is in their brains. Every time they feel they are “successful” in their social relationships, their brains produce oxytocin. This hormone generates the feeling of well-being, confidence, and decreases insecurities. Just what the construction adolescent requires!Everything that represents social acceptance activates this function in his brain.

This constant search for approval has another side: a high sensitivity to rejection. Feeling displaced awakens areas of the brain associated with the threat of physical health or lack of food. At the brain level, it is perceived as a real threat to their very existence. It is essential that, as adults, we understand this so that we do not underestimate what adolescents feel.

You can also read: Common learning difficulties and how to deal with them

Adult Guide

There is no magic to this; it is simply about taking the time to get to know our young people at home, but really get to know their dynamic. It’s about being less invasive and more understanding, being supportive and not stifling, letting them know that if they need it, they can turn to an adult without feeling that they are going to be reduced to their adolescent status in a derogatory way.

Let us be aware that the revelation of our young people is to be expected, but that it is not necessarily negative. In fact, it is part of the process. It is to let them grow even if it costs us. Putting obstacles in the way of this happening can be worse for the future development of an adolescent.

It is not about making “friends.” We are the adults and that is not going to change, but it is important to know that being adults also implies enabling and never losing the channels of communication so that our adolescents grow up healthily.


Our Nino de la Caridad Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and improving the quality of life for young people in the Bronx. If you want to help this noble cause I invite you to follow us on Instagram and if you wish you can donate HERE.

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