When It’s Time To Step In When Your Teenager’s Friends are Bad Influences


As a parent, it can be tough to watch our children start to grow up and change from kids to teenagers. The little kid who always wanted to be around us, even when we just wanted some alone time, starts to withdraw and wants more time alone too. Rather than spending most of their time at home with the family, they want to go off with their friends and find their own fun. We know this is to be expected, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s especially difficult if your child makes new friends who might be a bad influence. When they were little, it was easy to monitor their friendships. If you felt like another kid might not be a good friend, or you got a bad impression from their family, you just didn’t let your kid hang out with them. There would be no playdates or sleepovers at that kid’s house. Easy enough.

During the teen years, though, it’s a lot tougher to monitor your kid’s friendships and step in when your teenager’s friends are bad influences. They’re going to meet new people and make new friends in high school. In some cases, those new friendships are not a good match, and the teens don’t benefit one another.

If your troubled teen has been getting in trouble with a new group of friends, there are a few things you can do to intervene.

How to step in if your teen’s friends are bad influences

It can be tough to fully ban your troubled teen from hanging out with their friends if they go to school together. They’re bound to see each other in class, but you can still do your best to limit their interaction.

Talk to your teen

Have a real conversation with your troubled teen about their actions and their choices. Chances are, they’re not thrilled about getting in trouble all the time and having a stressful home life either.

Try to find out what they like about their new friends rather than just trying to convince them that their friends are negative. By understanding what your troubled teen is looking for in a friend, you stand a better chance of helping them make better friends.

Don’t focus blame on the friend

Make sure that your teen realizes that you aren’t just blaming their friend. As a teenager, your kid is capable of making their own choices and reaping their consequences. They’re going to be presented with opportunities to make bad decisions even when they’re adults, so they need to start taking ownership of their decisions while they are young.

Focus on the importance of choosing uplifting friends who make them better rather than choosing friends who bring them down.

Talk to the friend’s parents

If you know the new friend’s parents, talk to them about what’s going on. Find out if they are aware of the trouble the kids are getting into together and whether or not they’re concerned about it.

If they are also concerned, discuss the methods of addressing the situation within each family.

Talk to your teen’s teachers

Your teen’s teachers see what goes on at school better than you ever will. Reach out to them to see if they’re noticing anything that you should know. You could also ask the school’s guidance counselor to check in with your teen from time to time.

Next steps

You should expect your troubled teen to be upset that you’re not letting them hang out with their new friend like they used to. Teenagers want more independence to make their own choices, and they don’t like it when their parents rein them in. However, that’s our job as parents. While kids are still young enough for us to have some say in their lives, it’s our job to step in and change the situation when needed.

Ideally, your teen will start learning how to make those kinds of choices for themselves. We all end up with acquaintances who would not be suitable for us as friends. As your teenager transitions into adulthood, they must learn to step away from people who will bring them down.

If your teen son’s behavior is getting out of hand or you are worried that he might get expelled, consider sending him to a therapeutic boarding school. By removing him from the negative influences, he would get a chance to continue his high school education while getting personalized therapy.

Each student at Liahona Treatment Center receives an individualized treatment plan that will help them learn to make better choices. Contact us today to find out more about our program for teen boys.

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