When our kids grow up, it can be hard to face the fact that we can't always be around to help guide their decisions. Once they've reached school age, the chances are they're spending more time out of our care than in it, and it's only natural that they want to widen their friendship circle - but what happens when negative influences begin to cause issues?
It might be tempting to storm in and ban your child from being around the person who they're learning bad habits from, but it's not always that simple. That course of action might seem like the right thing to do, but more often than not it can propel teenagers further toward unruly behavior. Let's take a look at how you can handle this in a way that has a positive outcome.
Cussing teen? Handle this one with kid gloves.
One of the most obvious indicators that a teen has made a new friend is a huge change in the language they use. Is your child suddenly cussing when they never used to before? If you have a good idea where the new vocabulary is coming from, don't rush in all guns blazing. Instead, let your teen know that it's not accepted in your home. According to Real Simple, the best approach is something along the lines of: "I don't know what's okay at Stephen's house, but that isn't okay in our house."
Too much information about the wrong things?
Let's face it, kids are curious and sometimes they pick up all sorts of stuff in the playground that isn't exactly true. When it comes to the ins and outs of sex, this can be a big problem. Young teenagers are particularly vulnerable to believing things someone else has told them, so if your son or daughter seems to know more than what's age appropriate then try and hash it out with them. Ask them gently what they've been told tentatively explain that they might not have the whole story. If you think it's time to go for the big "talk" then go ahead. If it's becoming a big issue though, don't be afraid to talk to the other child's parents - they probably don't know what's going on.
Daring and dangerous?
There's always that one kid in school that seems to do anything for points, no matter the risk. If your teen is starting to be influenced by someone that drives too fast or does other dangerous things, then it's time to step in - but the older your child is the more difficult this one can be. Commanding your 16-year-old for example, won't be easy, and they probably won't listen. Instead, tell them that you're trusting them to do the right thing. Guilt trips can go a long way when it comes to keeping kids safe.