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.