Does that mean school friendships are over too?
It doesn’t have to.
But it also means there’s a new opportunity like never before for young people to make new friends too.
The thing is for some young people though maintaining friendships after high school isn’t easy, but just because they aren’t spending all day everyday with their mates anymore doesn’t mean they can’t still keep the friendship alive.
While it’s understandable young people can feel a bit nervous about high school wrapping up as their friends go off in different directions, the good news is that just because they’re not spending as much time together doesn’t mean they won’t ever get to hang out again.
To keep connections alive your child can suggest new things to do in the group chat, building group traditions and routines, find an activity to do together and, most difficult at all, learning to be okay with the group ebbing and flowing a little.
Meanwhile, great ways to make new friends after school include joining clubs or teams, travelling, saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities, attending events, getting a job, signing up to a class or short course in a subject they’re passionate about or picking up a new hobby.
Sounds pretty practical to us.
But as a parent, what can you do?
Senior faculty editor at Harvard Medical School, Claire McCarthy MD, told Harvard Health Publishing that learning about solid relationship skills actually starts at home, and that offering support without hovering helps.
According to McCarthy, some of these relationships skills which can help your child make and keep friends include:
- Empathy. Make sure that everyone in the family treats each other fairly and with kindness. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to sibling fights, or feel justified in snapping at our partner when we have had a long day. No matter what we say, our children pay attention to what we do.
- Curiosity about others. Make a family habit of asking each other about their day, their interests, their thoughts.
- Communication skills. These days, devices endanger the development of those skills. Shut off the devices. Have family dinners. Talk with each other.
- Cooperation. Do projects, play games, and do chores as a family. Work together. Help your child learn about taking turns and valuing the input of others.
- Regulating emotions. It’s normal to have strong feelings. When your child does, help them find ways to understand big emotions and manage them.
- Knowing when and how to apologise — and forgive. This really comes under empathy, but teach your child how to apologise for their mistakes, make amends, and forgive the mistakes of others.
Listicle source: Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School)
And, of course, remember that the way you talk about or with other people impacts your child too.