Family and friends

Relationships with friends and family members are an important aspect of most people’s wellbeing. Supportive relationships can, research suggests, increase our chances of being happy.

This is no less true for your son or daughter. It could even be more important, as they’re in the process of exploring independence and evolving a sense of self.


It can be hard to keep the peace at home, especially if one or more of you don’t always see eye-to-eye. Conflict can be an issue in families, but it shouldn’t just be accepted and attempts need to be made resolve any ongoing issues.

As your son/daughter grows up, it can be difficult for everyone to know where the line is regarding boundaries and privacy. Young people do need some freedom, but at the same time they need security and support from home.

Managing relationships

Understanding or negotiating rules and adapting them as your son/daughter changes is an ongoing challenge. All relationships require management and this is no different when dealing with relatives.

Learning to communicate effectively is a necessary aspect of your son/daughter’s development. As a parent you can try and demonstrate appropriate ways of talking, listening and addressing other people.

Our section on families has more on relationships with your son or daughter.


Adolescence and the early twenties brings upheaval and transitions to a young person’s life. As your son/daughter grows they’ll probably have many different friends and where possible you should try to be encouraging and facilitate these relationships.

Good friends can:

  • improve confidence and self-esteem
  • give a sense of purpose or belonging
  • help reduce anxiety
  • enable us to get through tough times.

Making friends comes more naturally to some people than others. It can be tough for young people if they feel lonely or find it difficult to socialise.

Meeting new people isn’t always easy, especially when you’re going through the uncertainties of growing up. If possible, encourage your son/daughter to try new things, go to new places or to accept invitations to parties or social events.

Young people also need to learn how to be a good friend and navigate, what can be the ups-and-downs of, friendship as they grow up. As a parent, you can have a strong influence on this. Take a look at friendships for more.

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