Bad company has always been a concern for parents. You spend more than a decade taking care of your child and teaching them values so that suddenly, in a couple of months, your child becomes a completely different teenager. He is no longer the kind, respectful and shy boy that he was before. Now you notice it passively, hesitantly and maybe even your grades have dropped . What is happening?
During childhood, the most influential figure were parents. The child wants to be with them all the time, sharing hobbies and activities, in short, he loves them. However, in adolescence there is a change and the main sources of affection are peers, friends. Parents are still important but they no longer meet the needs they used to because now your child has new ones. Therefore, adolescents have to create their own identity and for this they must relate to their peers, discover what they like and who they want to be with. Feeling integrated within a group is the main concern at this stage. Keep in mind that from pubertyyour son will be moving away from you irretrievably and giving priority to friends. Later, if all goes well, these ties will be renewed in the future once adolescence is left and one enters youth, approximately during the 20 years.
IS MY SON OR DAUGHTER IN BAD COMPANY?
It’s not that easy to tell actually. There are teenagers where the change is very evident because as soon as you start to go with other people they change their character completely. They may become more rebellious, get worse in school, deliberately start coming home late, or worry about issues not appropriate for their age.
On the other hand, sometimes parents don’t suspect anything at all . That is to say, although outside the home they give a lot to talk about inside, they still have an exemplary behavior. For this reason, many parents are surprised when after having the typical chat with the tutor he tells them how their child behaves in class. We can even put ourselves in the worst case, there are parents who are stunned when they see their adolescent son appear under the threshold of their house accompanied by a policeman. “How is it possible? My son would never be able to do that!” . In these cases you should consider that your child’s behavior inside and outside the home is obviously different and you should look for the reasons.
-Who is my son dating? Do you have any new friends?
-Why don’t you go out with your old group of friends anymore?
– Your change of attitude so drastic could be due to your new friends?
-Could my son be taking drugs ?
WHAT I CAN DO?
Good, confirmed. My teenage son has undesirable friends. Now the eternal question, what should I do to stop him hanging out with those bad companies?
1. Prevention is better than cure . It sounds like a cliché but it is true. Take an interest in their friends since they were little, ask them how they are with their friends, what they are like, if they have a good time … As adolescents get older they will stop talking to you about what they do with their friends, it is normal. You can tell your child that you can have a meeting at home, that everyone come to see a movie, play games on the Play Station, etc. Having a house to hang out on a rainy day will be an offer they can’t refuse … Mind you, don’t harass the teens while they’re home or they won’t want to come back. Just watch the way they talk and behave.
2. Don’t forbid them to be with them. This strategy does not usually work because if it were that easy I would not be writing this article. When children are young, it is enough to remove the child from that environment, because the main attachment figure is parents and friends sooner or later replace each other. But adolescents end up replacing their parents with friends and they will feel more attached to them. That is, between you and your friends, you will always choose your friends. Ultimatums don’t work. On the contrary, the only thing that you will be achieving if your child insists is that they want to be with them more. Then he may even start lying to you and you lose your trust in him. It is more, therefore, if you choose to be very strict and put the door to the street under a padlockYou will only create a feeling of resentment and your relationship will get worse . Besides that they will end up managing to continue seeing them without you knowing about it.
3. Don’t criticize your friends. This is the worst thing you can do. You should never speak ill of your children’s friends! Even if they really are bad company you have to keep the type and not criticize them. Your son will be in favor of the friend in 99% of the cases and you will only be left as the bad guy in the movie. In addition, surely sooner or later your friend will end up finding out what you said and the least recommended right now is to create new enemies. But that does not mean that you can not give your opinion but always criticizing their behavior and NEVER the person.
Ex: I don’t think what John Doe has done is right because …. (he describes what he did precisely so that he sees that you are not exaggerating the facts), I think he should …….. (insert here respectful opinion and that makes sense).
4. Give them a try. This advice is linked to the first one. You must give your son’s friends a chance. Really bad company? First impressions can be deceiving and prejudices do a lot of damage. Try to get to know them better by inviting them to your home or to do activities together. If you manage to like your children’s friends, you will have powerful allies and they will empathize more with you. Imagine a situation in which you fight with one of your teenage children, the safest thing is that you comment on WhatsApp to a friend. What do you think he would say if he liked you? “Let’s see, your mother cares about you, you spent a bit …” Now imagine what he would say if that friend in question could not stand you … Surely very different things.
5. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to remember for a few moments how you were at his age and how the type of people you were with or who you would have liked to go with were. You may or may not agree on some things, but even so, as we get older, we adults “forget” what it was like to be a teenager and we tend to see everything from an adult perspective that only cools us more.