the more, the merrier

A Therapist Shares One Simple Tip That Can Help Teen Girls Navigate Friend Drama

And parents can help implement it.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 
TikTok content creator and therapist — Dr. Kimberley Palmiotto — recommends balance, variety, and cr...
Dr. Kimberley Palmiotto / TikTok

Helping your tween or teen navigate the scary world of friend drama can be daunting. Each day brings a new social crisis, a new friend that has wronged them (weren’t they just “best friends” yesterday?), and so many tears.

No one wants to see their kid tied up in friend issues, sobbing over feeling left out or picked on, but friendship issues are (unfortunately) just a rite of passage growing up.

While that part of adolescence might be inevitable, there are ways that we, as parents, can ease that burden for our teens.

TikTok content creator and therapist Dr. Kimberley Palmiotto — who also happens to be a mom of four girls — knows a thing or two about raising young women. When it comes to friend drama, she recommends one great tip to help ease that tension and stress that comes with iffy teen friendships. It’s all about balance, variety, and creating opportunity.

“Providing your daughter with multiple social opportunities might help her to balance the challenges that come with some of her friendships as she gets older,” Palmiotto said in her video. “The more social circles she has, the more choices are available.”

“So, when one circle gets challenging, she has the opportunity to move to the other.”

She recommends that parents encourage their daughters to branch out, make friends in all different aspects of life (sports, church, family, neighbors, school, etc.). This way, when one friend group isn’t feeling so great, there is always another set of friendships to lean on, helping her feel less alone in those times while also building community.

“They're all really important to nurture, all of them, by just keeping in touch and finding ways to connect every now and again,” she said.

“I have seen girls that have a variety of friend groups navigate the normal drama that can come with adolescence much easier than girls that don't. As parents, we can't control the social situations but we can be there to support her when they're challenging and help her by providing spaces that help nurture those variety of friendships.”

Like Dr. Palmiotto says, female tween/teen friendships can be tricky. As parents, we cannot stop that inevitable “mean girl” behavior from happening, but we can encourage them to have a variety of different friend groups as a way to help them navigate friend drama.

One user commented on the piece that her parents encouraged multiple friend groups growing up which has transferred to adulthood seamlessly.

“To this day I have rotating friendships even as an adult and it’s amazing having so many people from different walks of life 🥰,” they wrote.

Another said, “This!! I had difficulty with school friends and my neighborhood friends were such a safe space.”

One user wrote that Dr. Palmiotto’s video made her realize after suffering from some typical middle school drama, she had “subconsciously” been diversifying her friends as an adult.

“Oh my goodness. I had such a rocky middle school experience with only one group of friends — and I think I’ve been subconsciously building multiple social circles ever since. It’s wonderful to have different friends in every part of my life! I’ve said I’m allergic to friend groups, this must be why,” she wrote.

Recent reports have revealed that teen girls are suffering from sadness at alarming rates. According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), 3 in 5 girls felt persistently sad and hopeless — a marker for depressive symptoms — up nearly 60% from 2011.

Also according to the CDC, more than 1 in 4 girls reported they seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, up nearly 60% from 2011. More than 1 in 10 girls reported they attempted suicide in 2021, up 30% from a decade ago.

Teen girls are in the midst of a mental health crisis, and if parents can help encourage this one small change in their daughter’s life by helping them have a bigger social community with more opportunities to be heard, create bonds, and feel a part of something, maybe there is hope to turn that around.

This article was originally published on