TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - "This year my first year of middle school
my friends made lots of friends in their classes. I felt like the
outsider. The new friends excluded me and slowly started to not invite
me to certain things and when I did hang out with them I felt like a
drag. How can I make new friends and get my friends to include me
- actual post from kidshelpphone.ca
Throughout the summer, Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors hear from young people of all ages who are worried about how the next school year will affect their friendships. In fact, 18% of Kids Help Phone's online and phone contacts this past April, May, and June of 2013 related to peer relationships, including friendships.
"I often hear from youth who are worried about their friends hanging out with new cliques," says counsellor Cheryl-Lynn. "Others worry about drifting apart from their old friends as they transition into middle or high school, or they worry they won't have anyone to hang out with at all."
Students up to age 20 readily reach out to Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors for support during the back to school season, either online or by phone. A popular method for kids to explore a problem or learn on their own is the InfoBooth on kidshelpphone.ca, which is an online library of clinically vetted information on a wide variety of topics. This August, kidshelpphone.ca offers brand new content to help teens and young adults who have questions or concerns about friendship.
This trusted source of information, written just for them, includes two new quizzes - "How strong is my friend connection?" and "Are you a good friend?" - along with tips to help young people cope with shyness, jealousy, loneliness and isolation. It also covers important questions about making friends, ending a friendship, and what to do when friends are fighting or drifting apart.
Why we want to talk about friendship
Kids Help Phone receives a lot of contacts about friendships, which is why we feel it is important to provide young people with up-to-date information on the topic. We also understand that friends can play a really important role in young people's lives, and that sometimes they need help to navigate these relationships.
About 23% of online and phone contacts at Kids Help Phone relate to peer
relationships, including friendship.
About 6% of the calls and online posts Kids Help Phone receives are from
kids who want to help other kids.
We can all benefit from having supportive people in our lives,
especially when we are experiencing difficulties.
Friends can be an important source of social support, which can make it
easier to cope with life's stressors.
Support is linked to lower rates of depression, greater self-esteem, and
more positive attitudes towards school.
Kids Help Phone's new friendship content is now available here.
Expert tips: what parents can do to help
Take a break. Suggest that your teen takes a short break from their friendship.
Sometimes relationships need a bit of space. A break might mean
spending time with a different group of friends, taking part in more
family activities, or keeping computers and mobile devices turned off
for a specific period of time.
Grieve the friendship. If your teen has tried reconnecting with a friend and it hasn't worked
out, let them know it's common and okay to feel hurt when a friendship
ends. Encourage them to take time to grieve the loss of their
relationship. For tips on grief and loss, encourage your child to visit
the Grief and Loss section of the Kids Help Phone Info Booth.
- Get creative. Drawing, painting, or writing in a journal can help young people cope with the end of a friendship. The Kids Help Phone Guided Journal can be a good place for them to reflect on their feelings about the friendship. They can also use Kids Help Phone's, Letters Written Never Sent, to write a letter to their friend.
"No matter which academic level a young person is at, peer relationships
remain an important part of their lives, inside and outside of the
classroom," Cheryl-Lynn says. "Friendships are often the first
relationships kids make outside of their families, and when kids drift
apart from each other, for whatever reason, they can experience
feelings of loneliness, isolation, hurt, and confusion."
Going back to school is about more than attending classes and taking exams. It is also about making new friends, adjusting to new teachers, and facing many new challenges.
Because friends are an important part of a young person's circle of
support, it's important for kids to reach out for help if they have
concerns about making friends, keeping friends, and helping friends.
Kids Help Phone professional counsellors are available for media interviews about friendship, and to offer tips in time for back to school.
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise in providing vital, innovative, and professional counselling services to children and youth. Since 1989 we have offered children, teens and young adults in Canada a critical lifeline of hope and support, through our free, anonymous and confidential service. Our professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone. Our internationally recognized, award-winning websites are considered a model of child-focused interactive design, and offer online counselling forums and engaging, therapeutic games, tools and information to encourage resilience and self-care. A community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to keep our essential service available. We're there for the *6.5 million young people in Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and in French.
*Source: represents the age group Kids Help Phone serves (from 5 to 20) according to Statistics Canada, 2011.
SOURCE Kids Help Phone