Highlights

  • It may not be as important to be friends with your child as you think
  • Youngster's relationship with their friends is a better predictor of future outcomes
  • Having good teen friendships equalled to success later in life

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Attention parents! You don’t need to be your child’s BFF. Here’s why

A youngster’s relationship with their friends is a better predictor of their future outcomes than the relationship they share with their parents, say findings of a new study. 

You can love your children but you don’t really need to be their best friend, suggests a psychology study from the University of Virginia.

A longitudinal study of 200 participants that started way back in 1998 has found that a youngster’s relationship with their friends is a better predictor of their future outcomes than the relationship they share with their parents.

SEE MORE Tragic youth: why the pandemic has been the hardest on Gen Z

For the study published in the journal Child Development, scientists surveyed participants on their social relationships, the quality of their romantic relationships, depressive symptoms and work performance.

Comparing this data against answers from the same person’s childhood, it was clear that good teen friendships lead to success later in life.

Predictably, the reverse was also true. People who did not have good, quality, best-friend relationships as teens had poorer work performance as 25-27-year-olds.

They were also predisposed to have worse-quality romantic relationships and were more likely to be depressed.

All in all, the findings should prompt parents to stop labelling children’s focus on their friendships as trivial or silly, says the team.

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