Teens and Friends
One of the most significant factors contributing to a child’s success or failure is their choice of friends. That may sound simplistic but in reality a teen is not going to hang around with someone who doesn’t share their same value system. If a teen has been taught that it is not right to steal, and he is with someone who shoplifts, he or she will more than likely begin to move away from that friend. This is also true of other negative behaviors like substance abuse, smoking, drinking etc. The old adage, “Birds of a Feather” is basically a true statement.
Parents, Teens, and Friends
If possible parents should assist their child with their choice of friends. Obviously this is not always possible, but it is possible to make a teens life easier when they choose better friends. For example if a teen wants to go out with some friends that are not too desirable, a parent could say, “Why don’t you call __________ a positive friend and I will take you to the movies and pick you up”. This option is more likely to work when the child is younger. It is crucial that a parent stay involved in their child’s life as long as possible. If a parent is not spending enough time with their child they will fill their time with someone or something else. Parents should take every opportunity to get to know their children’s friends. If parents will also take the time to make their children’s friends welcome in their home it will pay rich dividends in the future. It might become annoying to their child that their friends always want to come to their house to hang out, but that is a positive thing from a parent’s standpoint.
Teens and Parents can be Friends
This topic is delicate and needs to be considered very carefully. It is easy to try to treat a teen like one of your friends. It is very important that a parent child barrier still exist. This means that while you and your teen are comfortable hanging out together the parental role still needs to be present. Some parents in an effort to stay close to their teen have taken the friendship concept way too far when they actual smoke marijuana with their teen. Some will participate in similar inappropriate activities. While it is a good idea to bond with a teen, keeping things on an adult level will gain more respect, and actually turn out much better than becoming a negative friend for your child. The best rule of thumb is if you are questioning if the activity you are considering doing with your teen is ok, it probably isn’t. The parents should take the lead in planning activities and guiding them in a positive direction. It is also very helpful if the parent will coordinate their efforts with the parents of the other teens.
The majority of troubled teenagers are very good at manipulation. This is a fancy word meaning, they always find a way to get what they want. Teens will often pit parents against each other. In split families where biological parents do not live together children are able to manipulate much easier. Teens will sometimes learn this behavior from their parents and sometimes from their friends. The split family parents have an especially difficult time trying to get the teens to follow instructions and do what they are asked. The parent that only sees their child on the weekend, doesn’t want to be the authoritarian as the time they have with their child is so limited. When there are children from two or more marriages in the same household it is very difficult not show favoritism or even actions that may seem like favoritism.
Teen Boarding Schools and Manipulation
When a child is checked into a teen boarding school it is pretty well assumed that the child has manipulative skills. Since most schools deal with troubled teens they are fairly well trained to watch for manipulation. A skilled teen manipulator may be able to play parents against each other, and even bring staff from the boarding school into the mix. This requires a great deal of communication between parents and staff. If the program can enlist all of the parents involved to work together the manipulation can be minimized. It is also important for all of the staff working with the teen understand the goals that have been set and the plan of action for the teen.
Boarding Schools for Teens
There are a lot of boarding schools for teens to choose from. It is important that the placement option selected is able to develop a treatment plan that will address the needs of the teens in their care. The treatment plan should include goals for the student, what success will look like, and a well organized communication outline. When a parent understands that their child will do and say just about anything to come home things will go much smoother. This confidence can only come if the parent is totally committed to the program they have chosen.
Parental Commitment to Boarding School
To get to this level of confidence a parent needs to visit the teen boarding school their child is in. The parent should meet and get to know the staff that will be working with their child on a daily basis also. The parent needs to know that if the child starts to make outlandish claims like they haven’t had anything to eat for days, they are getting beat on a regular basis etc. etc. that it is not true. A wise parent will make surprise visits to the program they have selected to assure abusive claims are simply not true. There are teen boarding schools that may act differently when parents are there than when they are not.