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Helping Your Teen Through A Friendship Breakup


mom comforting teen after fight with friend

Each teenager will mature through their adolescence at a varied pace, while encountering nuanced and unique challenges. The needs of each teen vary drastically, and often continuously shift as they enter new stages of their lives. As parents, we are charged with supporting our children through these trying times, while simultaneously encouraging the progression of their process of individuation. It is normal to assume that your child will always come to you first to express their needs and wants and share their thoughts and desires, and while this may happen for a period, it will likely change during adolescence. Teen friendships are integral to a young person’s social and emotional growth and development. Healthy teen friendships can provide adolescents with a sense of acceptance and belonging. Neurotypical children shift their alliances from their parents to their friends during their teenage years. Which is why ending a friendship as a teenager can be exceptionally difficult and painful.

Friendship Breakups

Friendship breakups are rarely easy, and can often elicit a slew of unwanted emotions including sadness, confusion, frustration, anger, etc. Unfortunately, friendship breakups are unavoidable for teenagers, as not all friendships last forever. No parent wants to witness their child suffer through a friendship breakup. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your teen navigate this experience. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Offer unconditional support and love to your teen. Every young person going through a friendship breakup is frequently left with feelings that they are unable to identify, understand, and/ or articulate. Your teen may take out his or her confused emotions on you, and it is important to express love and support in return. 
  • Be present for your teen and create an emotionally safe environment for them to process and navigate their experience.
  • Encourage compassion. Harboring ill-will towards their ex-friend will only be harmful to your teen. Whatever the reason behind why the friendship is ending, guide your teen take the high road by projecting love and compassion to the other person.
  • Remind your teenager that by letting go of the friendship it will open space for another friendship to develop. 
  • Help your teen find moments of enjoyment and fun. Engaging in entertaining pastimes can help provide your teen with some perspective on the situation while simultaneously offering a bit of much needed respite. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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