5 Signs Your Child Is In An Unhealthy Friendship

5 Signs Your Child Is In An Unhealthy Friendship

Friendships are essential to a child's life, but not all friendships are healthy.

Some friendships may negatively impact your child's behavior, self-image, and morals.

As a parent, you should recognize when your child is in an unhealthy friendship and know how to support your child when they choose to get out of it.

A sudden change in your child's attitude may be one of the signs that they are in an unhealthy friendship.

If your child starts to act withdrawn or in a way they have never done, there is a chance they are being influenced negatively.

Also, you may notice that your child's friend is trying to seclude your child from other people.

A toxic friend may stop your child from making other friends and demand that your child spends all their time with them.

Furthermore, if your child's friend often speaks to your child in an intimidating way, it may indicate that they are being harassed.

When your child constantly faces harassment, it may affect their mental well-being.

Read on to learn how you spot signs that your child is in an unhealthy friendship.

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Melissa Peterson, LPC

Melissa Peterson, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Sudden Change in Your Child's Behavior 

When you notice a sudden behavioral change, it may indicate that your child is in an unhealthy friendship.

Wanting to fit in may cause your child to start modeling the behavior of their toxic friend.

Your child may begin to act like their friend because they want to prove that they are worthy of their friend's company.

Also, sometimes when your child is part of an unhealthy friendship, you may notice changes in your child's self-esteem or confidence.

They may suddenly become more withdrawn, especially around their friend, out of fear of looking "cooler" than them.

Your child may also start to get rid of everything they love to impress their friend.

Similarly, unhealthy friendships can cause emotional withdrawal.

Your once happy and bubbly child may start to feel depressed and anxious because they spend all their energy trying to suppress their personality to impress their friend.

Behavioral changes are normal, especially for teenagers, but a drastic change in attitude should be taken more seriously.

If your child suddenly becomes rebellious, you may look closely at their friendships to be sure their attitude does not result from it.

Seclusion From Other People 

If your child's friends start to seclude your child from interacting with other people, it indicates that your child is in an unhealthy friendship.

Seclusion may come from keeping your child from their other friends or telling others to stay away from them.

Also, a toxic friend who is overly possessive may make it difficult for your child to have other friends.

They may do this by spreading rumors about your child, especially in school, just to make other people dislike and ostracise them.

Similarly, toxic friends may get angry when your child makes efforts to be friends with other people and try to emotionally manipulate them to think that they have no use for other friends other than them.

Your child may also face physical and mental abuse if they refuse to let go of their other friends.

Furthermore, if your child refuses to be submissive to this friend, they may attempt to isolate or threaten to stop being friends with them.

This can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence, depression, and anxiety for your child.

Your Child's Friend is a Bully

A person who talks down and makes fun of others is a bully, and being friends with a bully puts your child in an unhealthy friendship.

If your child's friend is constantly poking fun or putting your child down, it is probably a good idea to pay extra caution to that relationship.

Also, a friend who constantly plays nasty pranks to embarrass your child does not have their best interest at heart.

You should protect your child from such friendship. No good friend will choose to ridicule anyone under the disguise of a prank.

Furthermore, when your child is friends with a bully, they may get involved in things they have no interest in to please their friend or out of fear of being scolded by them.

Your child may be bullied to take the blame for something under the disguise of "protecting" their friend.

In addition, when your child is afraid of their friend, they may refuse to do certain things because they are scared of how it will make them look or what their friend will say.

The Friend is Jealous of Your Child 

If you notice your child's friend is always jealous of them, it is a sign that your child is in an unhealthy friendship.

When your child's friend is jealous of their happiness, appearance, or belongings, this can signify an unhealthy friendship.

Also, if your child's friend's compliments feel more like an insult, it may indicate that they may be jealous of your child.

They may give backhanded compliments framed as praises so as not to make their jealousy obvious.

Furthermore, jealousy is a dangerous emotion, and a jealous friend may try to destroy what brings your child happiness.

They may say things to lower their self-esteem.

In addition, you may also notice that their friend tries to undermine their happiness to make themselves feel better.

Jealous friends will quickly downgrade your child's achievements because they want to make it look like they have not done anything special.

The Friend is a Rule Breaker 

A friend who purposefully goes against your rules or even that of their parents is not a good influence.

Being friends with such a person signifies your child is in an unhealthy friendship.

Also, refusing to visit your house because you have rules shows that such a friend is rebellious.

This behavior indicates your child's friend is not interested in respecting your rules and wants the freedom to do things their way.

They may also encourage your child to make their own rules and disregard the ones you have made.

Similarly, they may disrespect higher authorities or adults to show that they have no power over them.

Furthermore, rule breakers are disorderly people, and when your child's friend has a problem maintaining order, they can be a terrible influence. 


Once you notice that your child is in an unhealthy relationship, try to talk them out of it before it starts to influence their behavior and affect their mental well-being.

When they finally realize their friendship is unhealthy and choose to leave, make sure to support your child.

The signs that show your child is in an unhealthy friendship are a sudden behavior change, seclusion from other friends, their friend being a bully, their friend being jealous of them, and their friend like to break the rules.


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July 20th, 2024

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