A speaker on parenting, who is also a famous educator, has recently listed the most frequently asked questions that parents asked him throughout his career as an expert in his field. At the top of the list was what they should do if their child has bad friends. This concern was raised by parents at least twice as many times as the second most frequently asked question on his list.
The educator was also working with several troubled teenagers. Most of the teenagers were alienated from their own families. Some of the teenagers have dealt with their problems and are connecting again with their families.
He also asked the teenagers what advice they can give to other parents so that the parents will not encounter the same problems that their parents encountered with them. The teenagers were generally able to provide a bit of good advice to the educator. But when the educator asked the teenagers what they believed was the top concern of their parents regarding their children, the teenagers were unable to provide answers.
The educator inquired them as to how they got into trouble. The top response was that they had bad friends.
“Teens can connect with friends and learn more about each other. They can reach large audiences to organize and share messages about their beliefs.” Susie Raskin MA, LMHC said. However, most parents were concerned because their teens have bad friends. The primary reason that teenagers got into trouble was there having bad friends. When the educator asked the teenagers for advice on how to separate a bad friend from a teenager, the teenagers responded that you could not separate a bad friend from a teenager.
Why Parents Will Be Unable To Separate A Bad Friend From Their Child
The primary reason why parents will be unable to separate a bad friend from their child is the fact that the relationship between a teenager and his friend is often stronger than the relationship between a teenager and his parents. Parents are the primary influence in a child’s life when that child is very young. But when a child becomes an adolescent, this changes.
Bonding with peers and breaking apart from parents is a normal part of a child’s growth and development. If the bond between the parents and the child is good, then the child will become closer with his parents again. But this usually happens in the child’s early twenties or late teens. While the child is still an adolescent, the child’s relationship with his family is often not as close as compared to his relationship with his friends. Allison Ricciardi, LMHC once said, “You may have done everything right. You may have tried your best to instill the right values, morals, and faith. Your kid’s challenging but that doesn’t mean failure on your part.”
A secondary reason why parents will be unable to separate a bad friend from their child is the fact that parents will be unable to remove what they cannot replace. The child’s parents can not replace a child’s friends.
What Can Be Done If Your Child Has Bad Friends
Do not criticize the friends of your child. If your child has bad friends, your grip on your child either does not exist or is at best, loose. You do not want to create an enemy. If you criticize the friends of your child, then you will be creating enemies. And these are enemies whose influence is more significant than your own.
Seek help. It is usual for a child to break apart from his parents to create his own path. But this need is only from parents and not from other adults. You can ask a trustworthy adult to mentor your child. “A certain amount of change is a normal part of the transition. However, really drastic or long-lasting changes in personality or behavior may be a sign of trouble and indicate a need for professional help,” says Bella Stitt, LMFT.
Befriend the friends of your child. You might discover that they are not really bad friends. And you will gain allies who will assist you in influencing your child.