Handling teen obsession with friends

Learn about: Handling teen obsession with friends from SuEllen Hamkins, MD,...
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Handling teen obsession with friends

Sometimes people wonder why adolescent sons and daughters want to be with their peers more than their families. It’s because for an adolescent social connection is as important to them as food and water. Social connection is how they’re discovering who they are and finding their way in the world. And they want to spend their time with their peers, because they share so many values and interests with them. Another reason is that in our culture, we’ve defined that a respectable teenager wants to be with their friends all the time and not with their families. And kids want to live up to that expectation. How you can respond to this is by welcoming your child’s friends into your home all the time. Pack your refrigerator with the kind of food they like to eat. Have your son or daughter invite a friend to family nights like a Sabbath dinner or going on family vacation. Also, you can create multigenerational events with another family, whether it’s a cookout or going to the beach together. Finally, even though your son or daughter wants to spend most of their time with their friends, they still want to be connected with you. So still schedule one-on-one time with them like going out for breakfast or watching a movie at home together.
TEEN, Social Life, Friends

Learn about: Handling teen obsession with friends from SuEllen Hamkins, MD,...


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SuEllen Hamkins, MD

Psychiatrist & Author

SuEllen Hamkins, MD, is a psychiatrist, author and founding member of the Mother-Daughter Project, a community of women and girls that developed powerful, practical ways to help mothers and daughters stay connected and thrive through adolescence. Co-author of The Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence, Dr. Hamkins has given numerous presentations for parents and psychotherapists around the world, focusing on mothers, daughters, their relationships and the kinds of communities that nurture them.  As the psychiatrist for the Smith College Counseling Service from 1992-2004, SuEllen offered consultation to over a thousand women ages 16 to 23 to help them resist and overcome problems such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety, trauma, assault, and self-injury.  In addition to her work on behalf of mothers and daughters, as the Assistant Director for Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she has been instrumental in developing strengths-based, narrative approaches to psychotherapy and psychiatric practice, helping people cultivate their values and strengths in the face of serious difficulties.  SuEllen is the mother of two daughters, now 17 and 22, and raising them has been the most thrilling and rewarding work of her life. She lives with her husband and younger daughter in western Massachusetts, where they love to swim outdoors, cross country ski, shoe snow, dance, cook and lounge around in the living room, reading. 

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