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Kids with undesirable friends

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Kids with undesirable friends

Q I can’t stand the kids my teen is hanging out with. They are rude and disrespectful. What do you recommend?

A It’s very difficult for parents to admit they don’t like their teen’s friends. When I do my motivational speaking in high schools across the country, I stress to students one of the most important decisions they make during their teen years is who they choose for their friends. It’s important for parents to be honest when they see their teen making unwise choices. However, it’s incredibly important how parents do this. If you are simply telling your teen that you don’t like or approve of their friends, try to understand how this may be perceived. Teens may have difficulty separating who they are from who their friends are. If you say you don’t like their friends, many teens will internalize this as direct criticism of them because, after all, they chose their friends and they are similar to their friends. It’s much more effective to be affirming and caring towards your teen and simply become curious – ask them why they chose their friends. What qualities do they really like about their friends? Do they have any concerns? Become curious without being judgmental. Curiosity opens a door but being judgmental will close it.

* Dr. Karyn is a youth expert, parent/teen coach, motivational speaker and author.