Kids experiment a lot with social groups and the friends they hang around with, and this isn’t always a bad thing. But it may be time to step in if your teen’s new clique is rubbing off on them the wrong way.
Check the Warning Signs
Before you make a bold move, back up your intuition by checking for warning signs that your kid is hanging out with the wrong crowd. Some things to look out for include a change in hobbies, behavior or grades. Subtly ask who their new friends are and how they met, what kinds of things they do for fun. This will give you a better idea of what they’re up to and if they’re actually as bad as you think.
Talk to Them Privately
If you’ve decided to confront your kid about their new friends, do so privately—not in front of the new crowd. Putting your kid in an embarrassing situation will most likely make him defensive, and you won’t get anywhere. Find a time when you’re both in calm, good moods and bring up the subject to start a conversation. The less abrasive you are, the better your chances of getting him to talk about it and understand your point of view.
Image threerocksimages / Shutterstock
If your child is acting out or if their friend is really having a negative impact on them, you can always set rules to restrict your kid’s access to certain friends. Let your child know why you are limiting their social time and put their new found extra time to good use. For example, assign that as extra homework or study time and put away the video game control set.
Trust Their Instincts
There is always the possibility of standing back and trusting your child’s instincts to pick good friends. Kids are constantly experimenting with new looks, attitudes and friends as they work to find their identity in the world, and they will make mistakes. If they’ve found the wrong friend group, it could just take some time before they realize it’s not right for them and they move on. Keep an eye out, but if you raised them with a good moral foundation, they will likely come around in time.
When it comes to your child’s friends, there are probably going to be a handful that you don’t care for, but they may also make your kid happy, and that’s the most important thing. Take action when necessary but also be sure to trust and respect your child’s ability to choose good friends.
Feature image Zurijeta / Shutterstock