Dealing With Your Adolescent’s ‘Bad Friends’

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Long nights hanging out with your friends, high school sports, and crushes are all signature markers of a time as tough as it is cherished.

The teenage years are memorable and eventful, laying the foundation for the transition into adulthood.

We all have had the regrettable interactions with our parents or fashion faux pas that defined our generation, but what do you do when the shoe is on the other foot?

Being a rebellious teenager, and being the parent of a rebellious teenager are two very different things, and many parents don’t know where to start in dealing with complications that arise.

One of the most common complaints from parents of troubled adolescents is that they are hanging out with the wrong friends, and it is bringing them down.

Seeing your teen hang out with the wrong kind of friends is hard, but you have to tread carefully or you could push them farther away.

James Lehman, MSW, writing for Empowering Parent reported:

While your goal as a parent is to keep your child protected and safe, your child’s goal is to be with people who like him.”

Developmental needs guide a child’s behavior, and a key aspect of adolescence is wanting to be accepted and feel a sense of belonging.

This desire is so strong and innate that parents who try to get in the way of that have an extremely difficult time reaching their children.

Every parent wishes they could vet and choose their children’s friends, ensuring that they are up to the standard and values that you have worked hard to instill in your child.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. There are ways you can try to control the environment from which their friends are chosen, but they will ultimately decide who they connect with.

And if you have ever been in the position where you have criticized your teenager’s friends for anything, then you have likely seen a very surprising die-hard defense of their new buddy.

Do the remarks, “You don’t understand”, and “You’re ruining my life” sound familiar?

So, you have probably realized that going on the offense against the bad influences in your teenager’s life is not an effective approach.

Then what is? We have some expert tips to try and maintain a healthy relationship with your rebel while making it clear certain boundaries need to be kept.

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