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Question

Recently, my 14-year-old has taken up with a rough crowd. The more I question, the more he keeps to himself. Give me some ideas on how to intervene.

Answer

Mark Viator Replied: Seeing your child have friends that you do not approve of can be a tough experience in the world of parenting. First, keep on questioning. Believe it or not, adolescents desire to feel important - its part of their adolescent egocentrism- and this questioning shows that you care about who is friends are. Try to talk to him about the qualities he likes in these friends. Try to find out what he finds interesting in them. It may be time for you to examine your feelings about these "rough" friends. Perhaps letting your son invite them over to your house so you can get to know them a little better might ease some of your feelings. While I feel that you should always keep a definite interest in who your son's friends are, sometimes, a little show of trust and independence can go a long way.
Posted On 2004-04-04 20:47:35
Harry Panjwani Replied: Is there a father, stepfather, older brother or uncle that he can talk to? Nothing can take the place of talking with someone he trusts who is not judgmental, disapproving or does not scream. It is often a lack of confidence that draws children to the wrong friends. Sports do wonders for self-esteem as well as good grades. If he is not getting good grades, work with the school to rule out any learning disability, such problems as easily treatable, and when left untreated, can cause bad behaviors including the wrong choice of friends. There are many temptations for adolescent boys, so don't assume he'll grow out of this on his own. He'll need your guidance and reassurance to get on the right track.
Posted On 2004-04-04 20:40:05
Beverly Willett Replied: Before "intervening," remember what you were like as a teenager. It's natural for teens to challenge their parents' views and want more privacy. Your teen may feel like you're cross-examining her so try to rebuild communication by picking neutral topics. With my own kids, I often find that humor breaks down barriers, relaxes us and makes it easier to talk. Meanwhile, find out what you can from other parents, school, etc. about your teen's friends. Perhaps these friends merely pretend to be rough so they can seem cool. If there's physical danger, obviously you may have to put your foot down, enlist help from teachers, etc. Otherwise, picking your teen's friends will only backfire. Impart good values and teens generally will make good judgments about their friends - eventually.
Posted On 2004-04-04 20:31:43
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