Spheres of Influence: How your daughter's friendship group comes in to play
Your daughter’s brain right now is a rich, fertile ground looking out for experience. She has a drive to go out and search for information, search for new experiences. We have an amazing amount of content and information and experience available to us in our very, very connected world.
We now need to understand: how is she arriving at her opinions, how is she arriving at the thoughts she’s having, what is driving her behaviours?
The reality is there is a large percentage of her life that you are not involved in.
She is at school, she’s out with friends, she’s doing sports, she’s taking dance classes, and you’re not immediately there with her to look at what’s going on in her environment and see where she’s getting her information.
Understanding what can be influencing her during this time is very important!
And there are a number of different key systems of influence that are mainly at play throughout her teenage years.
Today, we’re going to look at one of the most talked about influences that many of the parents in our Courageous Parenting Program question, and that is, her friends.
Her Friends and Friendship Group
Once your daughter starts moving out of the primary school years and into the high school years (although this can actually happen as early as the primary school years!) we start to see more worry about whether they’re in a group, or out of a group.
It’s this acceptance that is the first stage of having some sort of an influence on her growth and development, particularly regarding her emotions.
Firstly, we see impact whether she is let into a group or whether she is kept out of a group. And then once she is inside a group, whether she is accepted for who she is, whether she’s encouraged to be more of who she is and come out of her shell or whether she feels like she needs to conform to some of the value set and the expectations around that friendship group and individuals within it.
These friendship groups act as a source of feedback for your daughter. When they are in the stage whereby they are trying to figure out who they are, they try on different behaviours and styles and look to see whether that is acceptable or not.
And as a result, our daughters become very, very sensitive to the evaluation from the peer group.
The underlying need and desire for acceptance dates back to primal days of acceptance to survive. If you were not accepted, then your rate of survival would drop significantly.
The copying of successful behaviours takes place when it comes to her friendship groups. She’s looking to the people that she surrounds herself with to see which behaviours are successful.
HOWEVER: be careful here, because what we might deem to be successful behaviours are likely to be categorised as “good and positive” behaviours.
But what your daughter is also looking at is:
what’s a successful behaviour that actually makes any of her friends more popular or more accepted and brought into other groups.
And if she’s going to gauge those as successful behaviours, then there’s no guarantee that they are good ones.
So it’s important to keep an eye on that particular system of influence: her friends and her friendship group, to try to ensure that she is being given some positive examples to be following.
We cover more spheres of influence at play for your daughter, and so much more in our Courageous Parenting Program. If you’re finding this concept challenging with your daughter at the moment, definitely check out the full program below.