Your teen daughter’s toughest social challenge – her frenemy!

Your teen daughter’s toughest social challenge – her frenemy!

Are you bewildered why your daughter continues to hang out with the girlfriend that teases and humiliates her in front of her peers and then playfully invites her to hang out after school?

If you’re struggling with how to support your daughter’s frenemy-like relationship, consider how tricky it must be for her to navigate!

Frenemies are defined as “a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, but harbors feelings of resentment or rivalry.” (

While it may be unsettling to watch your daughter struggle with her frenemy, it is important to recognize and understand the complexities of her social network.

 As you know, all teenage friendships experience some degree of push and pull.

However, when there’s a frenemy-fallout, emotions are amplified and drama tends to take center stage in your daughter’s life.

When there’s a frenemy fallout, be on the lookout for:

  • Hurt feelings and resentment
  • Cynicism and secrecy – aka – drama!
  • Dissension among the tribe
  • Self-doubt

Frenemy ‘bumps’ are bound to happen, but teenage girls and tribal unrest can get ugly.

When a fallout between your daughter and her frenemy spills over into their tribe – you and your family, may feel as if the roof has been blown off the house.

When it does, try these suggestions to diffuse the situation and validate your daughter’s experience:

  • Encourage your daughter to identify and label how she feels: angry, sad, surprised, disappointed. When your daughter recognizes that her thoughts create her feelings and her feelings dictate her reaction, she’ll learn where she has power and control in a tough situation.
  • Allow your daughter to reflect on the negative impact that cynicism and secrecy have on her well-being. Ask her where she would like to direct her time and energy. Learning self-care at this age is an essential life lesson that will positively serve your daughter for years to come.
  • Recognize that dissension among the tribe will equal drama for everyone. Sometimes tribal lines are drawn. When this happens, your daughter may feel conflicted and confused. Now is an ideal time to ask your daughter to identify the qualities and traits she admires in her friends. You may want to remind your daughter that she gets to choose who she wants to confide in and trust.
  • Remind your daughter that it’s normal to feel self-doubt when she has a conflict with her peers. Engaging in a difficult conversation is uncomfortable and unsettling for most people. Through conscious inquiry with your daughter, you can highlight the difference between fact and interpretation. Shedding light on your daughter’s gifts and strengths can give her self-esteem a boost.

Remember, you’ll want to tread lightly when your daughter is complaining about the ups and downs of her friendships.

It’s natural for your ‘mama bear’ instincts to surface, but remember, your goal is to empower your daughter to build confidence, integrity and resilience for all of life’s adventures.

I’ll admit that following my own advice can be a challenge sometimes!

Several months ago, I witnessed a friend of my daughters’ blatantly mocking her, in her in front of her teammates.

I felt helpless and angry and wanted to swoop in and save my daughter.

I didn’t.

I stayed in my seat and just watched.

When the time was right, my daughter and I talked about what happened.

Ultimately, the experience allowed my daughter to reflect on her friendship and the type of people she prefers to keep close.

How have you supported your daughter through challenging social situations?

Share your frenemy success story here!



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Posted in: Healthy Social Scenarios for Teens