Bad Company: What to Do When Your Child Gets With the Wrong Crowd

A parent’s job is never done, yet some tasks are easier to discuss than others. Keeping your kid away from the wrong crowd is a tough problem because you want your kid to know you trust them to make the right decisions yet you don’t want to give them enough space for them to make mistakes. When your child gets with the wrong crowd consider the following advice to come to a sound solution.

Bad Company What to Do When Your Child Gets With the Wrong Crowd

Gain Trust

In earlier generations, parents used a ‘tough love’ approach to parenting and adopted more of an authoritative role. It’s best to balance a fine line between being a bossy authority figure and being too liberal (more like a friend) and allowing your child to make all of their own decisions. First, you must gain their trust by talking and especially listening to them. Remember what it was like to be their age without forcing your adult rules and wisdom on to them. You’ll gain their trust by letting them know you may disagree with them yet you’ll do your best to understand them.

Set Rules

Of course, all kids want to test the waters and flirt with disobeying orders, but all kids (like adults) need structure. Regardless of what you call rules, people need guidance to help them understand what is acceptable and to establish a mutual vision of expectation. Establish rules and stick by them. Be direct and honest about why you are setting the rules and why it’s important for your child to obey them. Of course, some instances are out of your control when your child is in the presence of friends. If your child is harmed and it results in injury, consult Craig, Kelley, & Faultless. The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers specialize in car accidents, personal injuries, dog bites, and more.

Control the Situation Not the Choosing of Friends

It’s likely that if you tell your child not to be friends with a particular person it will only make that friend more attractive. Therefore, don’t control who your child hangs out with, just the situation. Set a curfew, make them call you at certain times, and tell them you would like to meet the parents of their friends. You can’t be with them every second of the day and night, but you can help control and guide them.

Address the Act and Not the Person

Some parents make the mistake of adding a bit of allure to a particular friend by labeling them as ‘the wrong crowd’ or a ‘rebel.’ Rather than address the person, steer your child’s attention to particular acts or attributes that you don’t appreciate. Ask your child about what they think of particular actions and personality traits and see if you can make them understand why you have a bad feeling about particular people.

Relay Wisdom

While parents have a lot of wisdom, it can be misused due to the wrong delivery. If you ‘command’ your child to think a certain way, it won’t be as successful as when you relay a story and have them come to their own conclusions about people and life situations. For example, you can relay a story about a particular friend who lost your trust or soured a relationship, making your child understand your cause for concern in noticing a similar pattern in their own relationships with current friends.

Danielle Parry is a single parent who has (so far) successfully raised two head-strong sons. Not needed as much now, she enjoys spending her spare time writing parenting articles to help others going through situations that she too has faced in the past.

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  1. These are good suggestions. It is a situation many parents have to deal with, and it is hard when kids get to an age that they start making decisions that aren’t always very good, how to deal.

    • I agree, Rosie! I’ve been dealing with this with my own two. It is a fine line to walk at times – especially with teenagers who (like I was when I was their age) think they know everything and know more than mom and dad do!

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