Navigating the Challenges of Your Teen’s Questionable Friendships

Wellbeing & Captains Corner Update

Wellbeing Update

Dealing with your teenager’s questionable friendships is a significant challenge for parents. Maggie Dent, an Australian parenting expert, addresses this issue in her podcast, “Parental As Anything,” in the episode titled “My Teen’s Friends Are Bad News.”

Adolescent peer relationships are crucial for social and emotional development. Teens often turn to the friends for support, advice and validation – sometimes at the expense of the advice of their wiser parents. This can obviously be concerning for parents when these friends are seen as negative influences. Dent advises instead of immediately condemning the would-be friends or forbidding the relationship, parents are to remain calm and seek to understand what attracts their teen to these peers.

Dent stresses first the importance of fostering open and honest communication. She suggests asking open-ended questions and actively listening as a starting point. Over time, this well help establish a safe space for teens to discuss their friends without fear of judgment. This approach may help parents gain insight into their child’s social circle and strengthen the parent-teen relationship.

While respecting your teen’s autonomy, setting clear boundaries and expectations is vital. Dent recommends discussing values and acceptable behaviours, highlighting the short, medium and long-term consequences of negative actions like substance abuse or skipping school. This helps teens make more informed decisions about their friendships.

Teens often model their behaviour on the adults around them. Dent advises parents to lead by example, demonstrating healthy relationships and positive social interactions. This modelling can subtly influence teens to seek similar qualities in their friendships.

Encouraging teens to engage in positive activities, such as sports, arts, or community service, can help shift their focus from harmful friendships. These activities provide opportunities to meet friends with similar interests and values.

Sometimes, direct intervention is required. If a friend poses a significant threat, such as participating in illegal activities, to your teen’s well-being, parents must take a firmer stance. Dent suggests involving professionals like school counsellors or family therapists in such situations.

Dent’s overarching advice is to balance trust and vigilance, freedom and boundaries, and concern and support. Recognizing that teens are in a critical phase of self-discovery and independence is key.

In conclusion, managing your teenager’s questionable friendships is challenging but can be an opportunity for growth. Maggie Dent’s insights emphasise communication, understanding, and balanced guidance. For more advice, listen to “Parental As Anything” with Maggie Dent.


Sparry, B. (Host). (2024). Parental as anything [Audio podcast]. ABC. https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/parental-as-anything-with-maggie-dent/my-teens-friends-are-bad-news/103872804

Jeffrey Vayo-
Head of Clancy House

Captain’s Corner

In our modern society, strength, competitiveness and independence are seen to be the foundations of being a man. With this, it’s easy to avoid some of the softer traits like compassion, courtesy, and kindness. Just because they tend to be ‘softer’, doesn’t mean they aren’t important, as these are the true foundations of a great man. I also believe that these qualities are crucial to achieving success in all that we do. As we grow from year 4 boys to adult men across our school journey, it is essential to understand that these traits are not signs of weakness but are the foundations of true strength and leadership.

To be compassionate is to understand and empathize with the emotions that others feel. Being compassionate is usually seen as being sorry for someone, however, it is really about being that person for someone to confide in, someone that allows you to ‘suffer together’. At Eddie’s, compassion can be shown when a boy helps another boy who may be struggling to keep up either in the classroom or during co-curricular. This compassion can also be shown when a senior helps a bright-eyed year 4, or when you know one of your mates may be having a rough time outside of school and ask how they are travelling. By simply being that person who listens, you show acts of compassion. In turn, these allow us to build a supportive community where everyone feels valued, understood and cared for.

This doesn’t only help those we are showing compassion to, but it also enhances our own lives. It creates a greater sense of brotherhood with all of your peers, and as I have personally experienced, that is the greatest thing about our community.

Courtesy is about showing and committing those small signs of respect for others, both physically and verbally. An example of this is holding the door open, saying good morning/good afternoon as you walk past someone, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and treating everyone with the same respect. In our busy days, this might seem like a waste of time, but these small acts don’t go unnoticed and allow you to build a reputation as being a ‘great young man’.

So, I encourage everyone who reads this to practice courtesy daily. It starts with a simple ‘Good morning Sir/Miss’, holding the door for our classmates and then extending this same courtesy to our interactions with the wider community. Being courteous not only generates a positive image for yourself but for the school as a whole. It is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be a gentleman and, ultimately, a great man.

Kindness is the final key action and comes from a man with a compassionate and courteous heart. Kindness is the combination of the two; the small gestures that can make a big difference in a day – a smile, a compliment or lending a hand with something. If someone shows a small act of kindness, it could make someone’s day just that much better that they too pass an act of kindness, starting a domino effect, allowing everyone to feel just that much better about their day.

So, I hope everyone in the school community can strive to help with the ongoing Karinya House and Home Queanbeyan charities, smile when you walk past and challenge yourself to give out at least three compliments each day. This kindness teaches us to look further than our immediate lives and recognize the humanity and spirit in everyone we meet.

So, being a great man is not about being smarter or faster or stronger or taller; it’s about the character and care that we show in our daily lives. Compassion, courtesy, and kindness are not just things to aspire to; they are the true foundations that help us navigate the challenges in life whilst supporting everyone around us, helping raise the bar that our community sets so high even higher.

At Eddie’s, we can all show a little more of these each and every day. This means to ask that friend how they are travelling, to hold that door for a couple more seconds and to give out a couple of compliments. By doing this we can become ‘great men’ and grow into leaders who will make a positive impact in everything that we do.

Strive to be compassionate, courteous, and kind, and you will not only enhance the lives of those around you but also set yourself on the path to true success.

Rory Forbes
Vice Captain ( Liberating Education)