Parents take lots of precautions to keep their children from getting in trouble. They teach them what they think is right and try to keep them from succumbing to negative peer pressure. But kids will be kids no matter what you do and sometimes they make mistakes. The important part is what you do after. If your teen is being influenced by other teens, there are some steps you can take to help them get back on track.
When I was in high school, my friend’s parents hated me. I wasn’t a bad seed; I rarely did anything wrong, but that’s not what their kids told them. They blamed me when they got caught breaking the rules. The worst part? They usually got away with it. Many kids place blame because they know they won’t be held accountable. Even if you know most of the fault lies with your child’s friend, you should still put some responsibility on your child. They need to learn to be held accountable for their own actions and that includes their choice of friends.
If your child insists that their friend was totally to blame and they couldn’t get out if it, you should teach them how to get out of bad situations. Role play; come up with various things they can say or do. Remind them that if their friend won’t listen and insists on dragging them along; they can just leave and call you to come get them. Usually the simple act of calling a parent will cause the friend to rethink their actions.
Explain to your child that, while you’re not in charge of their friends, you are in charge of them. You should develop a plan to determine if and when your child is allowed to hang out with their friend again. Set specific rules and limits, along with goals to meet to have these limits lifted. Make them understand that your trust must be earned back.
Remember that not all peer pressure is negative. You can’t choose your children’s friends, but you can encourage them to hang out with friends who exhibit positive peer pressure. If they have friends who are behaving and following the rules, they’ll be more likely to follow them too.