What should I do if I don't approve of my teen's friends?
Real Mom Problem
“I don't like my daughter's friends. What should I do?”
- 1. Some moms say to let teens pick their own friends, but to be open about what behaviors you don't approve of
- 2. Use your teen's friendship choices to teach lessons about peer pressure, and being kind to others
- 3. Even if you can't pick your teen's friends, you can set limits on your teen's social time
Real Mom Solutions
Is your teen hanging out with friends you don't approve of? Read the varying opinions of these moms who have dealt with their kids' problem friends before.
Let Your Teens Pick Their Friends
I don't always like all of my kids' friends or their behaviors but I encourage my kids to pick their own friends. I consistently tell them that no matter how other kids choose to behave you need to remember how I have raised you.
I like some of my teens' friends and not others and am pretty vocal about it. I let them know that as long as they don't get into trouble around them (because regardless of what the friends do, my kid still has to make good decisions) then they can be around them, but the minute they screw up...well, say bye-bye!
Use Friend Choices as a Teaching Tool
You can't change who your teens choose to hang out with. You can talk about different types of people in very candid conversations and how they help or harm others, but don't directly talk about any specific people. This has worked for us.
We discuss decision-making with the kids, and looking forward to the future. We have defined "users" (not drugs) and how we don't want to be "friends" with them and how people who influence you to do bad things are not your friends at all. I know my kids hang out with some negative people, but I am hoping they will be the good influence.
We talk about being friends with people who are good to us, not friends who are mean, but it's overall my teen's choice. I actually like it when he hangs out with kids that have behavior problems; it's a good lesson on peer pressure. My son has his own mind, I do not blame his friends when he copies their bad behavior, he knows it's wrong when they do something and he knows it's wrong when he copies. He is in control of his own actions. It's a good time to start lessons like "just because your friends do it doesn't mean you can," learning to make good choices, thinking about things before doing them, and not just following others blindly. Today, it's his friend punching another kid because he's angry and my child learning not to copy, in a few years it will be him seeing his friends smoking and knowing how to say no. The earlier he learns to use his own mind and not give in to peer pressure, the better. I don't shield him from bad influences, I teach him to resist them.
You Can Set Limits on Social Time
My daughter lost the right to choose friends she would hang out with because she continued to make the same mistakes and poor friend choices. We told her to either pick a new group of decent kids or have ZERO social life including cell phone (we took away texting). She finally wised up and chose better friends.
I feel you can ban friends from coming to your home, but you probably don't want to ban your teen from being friends with them. You can tell your opinion and let her make up her mind.
My mother tried to dictate who my friends should be and it never did work. I'm still friends with the one she distrusted the most and it's been nearly 30 years now! But that doesn't mean that you're powerless. Encourage your teen to have her friends over for the night on the weekends, and don't hover, but just be around and get to know her friends. Pay attention, talk to her, listen to her and try to keep an open mind. Maybe your teen can be a positive influence in some of their lives if some of them have more serious problems.