One of the important questions I ask the children and teens I work with is this: “would you please tell me about your friends?”.
This question sometimes surprises them (and their parents). When they made an appointment to see a psychologist they were expecting questions about feelings, emotions and life challenges, not necessarily about who they hang out with. But it’s essential for me to know about young people’s friendships because when it comes to young people’s mental and emotional health – research shows peer relationships are vital.
For example, studies show that children and teens who have good friendships report increased happiness compared to children who don’t have these friendships. Other studies show that young people with positive peer relationships are less likely to act in disruptive and challenging ways. Other studies suggest that young people with stable friendships are more likely to achieve better school results. There have also been numerous studies showing that young people who experience genuine and long term bullying (i.e. not just “unkind” behavior) are more likely to experience mental health issues as adults.Read More