Does Your Teen Have the Wrong Friends?

How to Deal with a Bad Friend Group

Some of us may forget at times, but we all know that being a teenager is not easy. Adolescents go through a lot in a short period of time, and their hormones do not help them much. In a short period of time, they go from complete dependency on their parents to becoming an independent human being. This stress can push your child to spend time with the wrong types of people. No matter what your child says, you will need to offer your teen help in one way or another.

Signs that Your Child Hangs Out with the Wrong Group

The obvious signs will not always be there. If you smell smoke on your child’s clothing or alcohol on their breath, then you know they need teen help, but not all signs are so obvious. You will have to look for small things. Maybe your child starts to answer you back with a particular attitude more than usual, or they change their style of clothing very abruptly. You may notice their grades suffer, how they spend more time withdrawn from you, that they no longer enjoy activities they loved, or how they take phone calls late at night. These subtle signs may indicate an intervention or another form of teen help could save your child some difficulties in the future.

What Can You Do About This Bad Friend Group?

First, you need to recognize that these other friends are not the only part of the problem. Their parents probably see your child as “the bad friend,” too. Neither is this a stage that your child will grow out of if you ignore it. The answer lies somewhere in between. This group of friends connects and accepts your child, otherwise, they wouldn’t spend time with them. You need to find a way to address the issues that caused your child to gravitate toward these friends.
Stay open and calm. Do not judge them. Try to understand. Try out some of the following teen help communication strategies:

  • Show them you love them
  • Take an interest in their friends and get to know them
  • Adopt an accepting attitude toward your teen while still clearly addressing the problems you see in a way that is free of judgment
  • Structure their time and make it clear they need your permission to do certain things until they gain your trust
  • Do not tell them they cannot see their friends—this will make those friends more attractive to them.

If things fall out of control or you notice the signs too late, you should get experienced teen help in the form of a recovery program. The sooner you get help, the better your child’s chances of returning to a positive and healthy life.

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