Five Ways Parents Can Help with Their Teen’s Peer Relationships

There are many causes of troubled teen behavior. It’s natural for adolescents to gravitate toward their peers for guidance and acceptance. Yet, as a parent, it’s still extremely important to monitor your teen’s friends, activities, social circles and basically know “what they are up” in their daily lives.

There are many troubled teen services with plenty of information available. Yet it’s widely known that troubled teen behavior can be caused from influences from that “bad crowd” or a certain friend (or friends) that may have a strong, yet unfavorable influence. Even though as a parent you may feel secondary in your teen’s life, understanding their peer-to-peer relationships can make a difference, while providing a better understanding of their overall well-being.

So, can you make a difference with your teen’s peer relationships and still have a positive impact? The answer is yes.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are many ways to address peer-to-peer relationships including:

  1. Get to know your teen’s friends. Knowing where they spend time, what their activities are and who they are interacting with allows the opportunity to ask questions about their friends.
  2. Express your concern. If you think their friends are not a positive influence and even show signs of troubled teen behavior discuss this. Be sure to be open and willing to listen and express what makes you uneasy.
  3. Don’t forbid a friendship. It’s best not to try and prevent friendship unless it’s putting your teen in danger or is a bad influence.
  4. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Teens are commonly changing styles, their hair, interests, etc. to express their individuality and independence. Reacting with negative comments to your teen’s friend may cause some resistance.
  5. Realize warning signs. If your teen is friends with people much older or is secretive about friends and what they are doing, monitor the situation. If you also suspect harmful activities such as premature sexual activity, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use, be very open about your concerns.

Understanding adolescence is not easy for any parent given the changes they are going through, both physically and psychologically. By being open and understanding of their peer relationships can you help you better understand your adolescent and their overall welfare.

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