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Residential Treatment Center for Boys Ages 14-18

 > Uncategorized  > Beneficial BFFs: Building Relationship Skills for Future Mental Health

Beneficial BFFs: Building Relationship Skills for Future Mental Health

Beneficial BFFs: Building Relationship Skills for Future Mental Health

As our children move through adolescence, it’s natural to begin building relationship skills, but for many, they hit a wall with social growth and struggle to move forward. Those that labor to connect with others and develop social relationships often grow into adulthood without proper care–but not intervening is a mistake.

While family is critical to development, studies are showing just how important friends are as well. It seems that close, healthy friendships early-on in life increase your child’s chance of transitioning into and thriving in adulthood.

The ways friends benefit overall wellness

A negative friendship can bring down anyone, regardless of age, which is why it’s essential for our children to learn how to build, recognize, and nurture positive friendships in their lives. Without building relationship skills, they won’t have the tools to do just that.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Virginia, researchers found that our friendships developed in our early years affect our mental health through young adulthood.

They discovered that the mental health of adolescents who had high-quality friendships in high school generally improved over time comparatively. Teens who were popular in high school actually had a higher chance of social anxiety later on, though–this could be because popularity (quantity of friends) does not equal quality friendships.

building relationship skillsThe adolescents used in the study were ethnically, racially, and socioeconomically diverse. They were studied annually for 10 years, from age 15 to 25. Each year, they were asked questions about their close friends and whether they were feeling anxiety, self-worth, depression, social acceptance, and more.

Friendships were labeled “high-quality” if there was a certain level of support and attachment. The researchers found that teens who “prioritized close friendships at age 15 had lower social anxiety, an increased sense of self-worth, and fewer symptoms of depression by the time they reached age 25 than their peers.”

While having a best friend or being popular didn’t predict short-term mental health changes, it did predict it in the long-term. From the study’s findings, it’s clear that having close, stable friendships has a positive effect on future mental health.

Joseph Allen, co-author of the study, explains what this research means:

“Our study affirms that forming strong close friendships is likely one of the most critical pieces of the teenage social experience. Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later. As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority.”

Friends are obviously essential to development–but meaningful friendships are what help lay a foundation that promotes wellness for life.

Equinox is here to help your son

Equinox RTC is a residential treatment center for teen boys, ages 14 – 18. Our students often need help with depression, building relationships skill, anxiety, trauma, drug use, and other behavioral or emotional issues.

We strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment. At Equinox, teenagers work towards building accountability, respect, and a solution-oriented approach to solving their challenges.

For more information about building relationship skills at Equinox, contact us today at (877) 279-8925