We can’t necessarily pick our child’s friends, but we can guide them and restrict them from engaging with a bad social group with some care, finesse and firm and kind discipline.First, remember how you felt as a teen: Did you want your parents’ input often? Did you agree with your parents? What approaches worked with you as a teen and what did not?
Of course, your teen is not you, but remembering how fragile, confused and rebellious you felt when young can remind you of the peer pressure in teens and their social group, and how it can lead to your teens choosing the wrong friends. And if you thought parenting a teen was hard, parenting troubled teens can be beyond difficult, so it’s key to make note as soon as possible if your teenager is experiencing teen trouble or hanging out with the “bad kids.”
Parenting Troubled Teens: Is His or Her Friend Really That Bad?
Your daughter’s friend has purple hair and loves punk rock, but is she really all that harmful? Just because she finds your preppy clothing and easy listening tunes offensive and might slip and tell you so, doesn’t mean she’s going to drag your kid down into drugs and alcohol. In fact, she might be an honor student.How do you know if your teen’s friend is a bad seed? You may have a bit in your stomach when you see this kid or a warning bell may go off, but are your instincts truly correct?
Peer Pressure in Teens: 4 Warning Signs That Your Teen is in the Wrong Crowd
These four signs will alert you that your teenager hanging out with wrong crowd or dabbling with “bad seeds”:
#1- No Parents In Sight:
Have you met your teen’s friend’s parents? Yes or no? If no, or if the parents are constantly “out” or working, be wary of this teen. This teen may have little parental observation or guidance.
#2- Is Your Teen Changing?
Has your teen started to slip up in school, dress differently, talk back, or any other negative behavior?
Does it seem that ever since your teen’s new friend came around, suddenly, your kid is a different person and not in the good way?
#3- Changing Social Groups
Peer pressure in teens may cause your kid to ditch his or her good friends, for the “cooler” ones. Has your child cut out former “good ties” in order to run with a different pack?
Does your child display any issues with the following:
- Making friends
- Managing his or her schedule
- Standing up for him or herself?
Any of these issues may cause your teen to cave to the cooler kids even if they’re well, not so cool.
Teen Trouble: More Warning Signs That Your Teen is Running With the Wrong Crowd
Here are a few more warning signs that your kid is hanging with a negative peer group.
- Withdraws from the family—doesn’t want to socialize or interact with the family at all anymore. It’s normal for teens to choose their friends but if your kid is constantly avoiding you all, it’s not a good sign.
- Viciously defending a friend: if your teen is protective or defensive over a friend, that’s normal, but if he or she will do anything to defend a friend, your teen may be covering up something
- Keeping it secret: if your kid refuses to say anything about what he or she does with this other teen, be wary.
Parenting a teen can be difficult, but if you are watchful and present in your teen’s life, this will make a huge difference. Remember most importantly: you are his or her parent—not a friend. Be kind but firm!