Is your teen hanging with the wrong crowd? Your teen’s friends and peer group have tremendous influence: they are a major contributor to the behavioral choices your teen makes.
Why is my teen gravitating to a less than desirable group of friends? For teens that struggle socially, falling into the wrong crowd is easy. Trying to pull a teen away from these potentially destructive relationships can be like trying to separate two powerful magnets.
Once teens find peer acceptance, they don’t want to let it go. They will do whatever it takes to fit in, even if it means doing things they know are wrong or against their parents’ rules.
Friends play a huge role in your teen’s life. Good or bad, your teen will seek a sense of purpose through their peers.
Signs your teen might be hanging out with the wrong crowd:
- Struggles in school. Failing in school, underachieving?
- Skipping classes or full days of school.
- Sneaky behavior. Is your teen behaving suspiciously?
- Snarky attitude. Back-talk, quick to anger.
- Becoming isolated and withdrawn.
- Loss of interest in their hobbies or favorite activities.
- Disregard for curfews or family rules.
- Trouble with the law.
- Substance use. Vaping.
- Spending to much time on social media sites.
- Drastic changes in mood, weight, appearance and/or personal hygiene.
- Dropping old friends, that were good friends.
How can you help your teen make better choices in choosing friends:
1. Welcome your teen’s friend. It’s important to meet your child’s friend to learn more about this person to show your teen that their relationships are important to them.
2. Meet the parents. It’s as important to get to know the family. Although at first this may seem strange, eventually you can find a way for everyone to get to know each other — it could easily be through carpooling or dropping your teen off at one time.
3. Don’t be quick to judge. Parents should take time to really get to know these new friends individually. Some teens may come from a disruptive or dysfunctional home, but that doesn’t mean they represent the wrong crowd.
4. Choose your words wisely. Parents should be extra careful not to put down or criticize a teen’s new friends, since doing so can spur rebellion. At the same time, parents should not ignore concerns.
If you are a parent who is fighting the magnetic pull of the wrong crowd, don’t worry. Teens have numerous influences in their lives, and there is no greater influence than the parent-child relationship.
If you are struggling with your teenager and have exhausted your local resources, learn more about how residential treatment can help your troubled teen make better choices. Contact us today for a free consultation.