We all want our kids to have friends, but when your child is an empath it can be supremely frustrating trying to help them understand what a good friend is. I have at times just wished my family lived in an isolated log cabin in the wilderness where we never had to encounter other people, but well, that isn’t really the best approach. So honestly, this one is really difficult. As a parent to an empath, you will more than likely have times where you feel uber-frustrated as you try to help your empathic child learn how to navigate their relationships with peers and friends in a healthy way. This is true of course for all children, but as a parent to an empath, friendships reach a whole new level of tricky.
Good, Better, and Best Friends
Empaths can be introverted and extroverted. I have both kinds in my family, but in general, an empathic child is literally drawn like a beacon to the strongest emotions in a room, and we all know that sometimes the strongest emotions in a room, aren’t always the best ones to use as a deciding factor when you are picking a bestie. Young empaths don’t always understand this.
One of the most challenging things I have found is teaching my children the concept that there are good, better, and best types of friends. And then there are some friends you should steer clear of altogether. Since empaths are so drawn to emotions, they have a hard time sometimes feeling their own emotions. It can kind of be much like a wet blanket that gets literally thrown on their own emotions and they get confused about whether what they are feeling is really their own thing or someone else’s feelings.
As a parent, if we help our child to understand that the best type of friends are the ones who make their heart happy, and don’t feel like an obligation, then that is the most helpful thing we can do for them.
Energy Vampires and The Fix-It Mindset
Narcissists and energy vampires are also drawn to empaths. Now think about little children, quite often they can be pretty self-focused, and for many of us as we grow up, we learn to care for others and, not just ourselves, but for many little people, they are still in that mindset for quite a while. And for some young children, they just know that hanging around Sally makes them feel better, and quite often they treat Sally pretty badly. Sally keeps taking it though because as an empath they can feel the hurt in their friend and because their friend’s emotions are so strong, theirs can get trampled for a little bit.
As a parent to an empath, you might want to go and lay some whoop-down on Sally’s friend, but of course, that isn’t really the answer. The best solution is to help your empathic child understand that although they want to help “fix” Sally, they need to also make sure they are finding friends who make THEM happy.
They don’t always have to be the ones in the room working to make everyone else happy. Their happiness is important too. I always ask my children, “Does playing or hanging out with ____ make you happy?”
If the answer is no, then it is time for a new friend choice.
That is kind of a big concept to learn for an empath. You can’t force them into it, but you can help them to realize it for themselves.
They can’t fix everything. Nor should they try. If a friend requires a lot of “fixing” then maybe they aren’t the best kind of friend for them.
As an empath matures, they can sometimes find it hard to open themselves up to anyone. Love and friendship can be just as beautiful as it is painful. And a teen empath is such a hard stage. I know you are thinking being a teenager is hard anyways, but imagine if you could literally feel EVERYTHING every teenager around you was feeling physically and emotionally?! Ugh, you get it now right?
These teen empaths have been hurt by others, quite a lot already. They have already met narcissists at a young age and been mistreated by them, and they just don’t want to add any more hurt to themselves. So sometimes they can get lured in by the whole concept that isolating is the safest route. It is safe, I get it, but it won’t make them happy. Empaths are one of the groups of people who literally need other people.
They need to feel the joy, the kindness, and ultimately the human goodness that is out there. The isolationist mindset will lead to some sad days for an empath, so please try and help your child to avoid this path for too long. It can be pretty hard to work them out of it, but it’s worth it.
One way to help them is with those safe places I have talked about before. A safe place is a good place to start for a scared and hurting empath who needs to be able to find the courage to open themselves up again.
Hugs to you my fellow empath parents. Sometimes our job can feel overwhelming. We have been given charge for some very special spirits, and they will do amazing things. I have seen that too. So hang in there, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need someone to listen to what you are going through. I don’t have all the answers, but chances are I have experienced something similar to what you are going through.
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