Toxic friendships are draining, be they our own dysfunctional liaisons or our children’s. There is, however, a level of complexity and frustration when the toxicity comes from within our children’s friendships circles because, Jo is right, we have to fight the urge not to get too fully involved. We have to let our children find their way and make decisions based on their own experience, albeit with our love and support. I did manage to stay out of what I call common-garden variety schoolyard squabbles, but anything really toxic and I did have a quiet word with the teachers with the power to keep an eye on my child when I couldn’t be there. This is Jo’s, aka Mother of Teenagers, toxic situation. Ed

My daughter is battling with a toxic friendship. Unceremoniously “dumped” by a friend completely out of the blue, a pattern of events is starting to take shape which suggests this friendship is more trouble than it’s worth, but ultimately the decision is my daughter’s.

It all started the day of her Grade 1 music exam. She emerged from school sobbing uncontrollably. Apparently she had messed up one of the pieces. We hugged and I tried as best I could to console her. Nothing I said, however, made any difference. It was not until much later that the story about the friend emerged and she explained that whilst she had held it together for most of the exam, her emotions overwhelmed her and she had lost concentration.

My immediate reaction on learning the truth was “Little bitch how dare she!”.

Read on | Mother of Teenagers