You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your kid’s friends. Not anymore. Your baby is now a teenager, and they are beginning to make decisions for themselves. What classes to take. What colleges to apply to. Who to date. And yes – who to hang out with.
You raised your teenager well, but you can no longer control what they do. And you definitely can’t control what their friends do.
Your teen is only human, and if they are hanging out with the wrong crowd, they may end up going along with things that they don’t really want to do, or get pressured into doing something that they know is wrong.
If you are worried that your teen’s new friends are going to get them into trouble, you need to be aware of some warning signs of dangerous behavior like drinking or doing drugs.
Hi, I am attorney Jill Ruane, and I have been working with juvenile defense cases for over a decade. As a parent of four and as an attorney who works with kids, I have seen situations where a good kid fell in with the wrong crowd and ended up doing things they regret. Here are three warning signs that your teen’s new friends may not be the best influence and could end up getting them into trouble.
Warning Sign #1: Cutting Off Old Friends
As your teen meets new people, they will likely make new friends. But there is a difference between a new friend being absorbed into your teen’s existing friend group, and your teen cutting off all of their friends to hang out with a new crowd. If your teen is encouraged to abandon their old friends because they are “not cool enough”, they might be pressured into worse behavior.
Warning Sign #2: Uncharacteristic Disrespectful Behavior
You’ve got a good kid who rarely yells, talks back, or tries to defy you. But if you start to notice these issues in addition to a new friend group for your teen, they might be getting this behavior from these new friends.
Warning Sign #3: “But So-and-So Does It”
Your teen never previously cared much about staying out late, going to parties, or skipping school. But suddenly they are taking an interest in things that could lead to trouble. If their reasoning for these new interests is related to their new friends, those people could be a bad influence.
Of course you want to trust your teen and their judgement. But I know that it is far too easy for one thing to lead to another, and for your teen to get caught up in trouble. If you suspect that your teen could be engaging in behavior you don’t approve of, keep an eye on my blog. I will post more information to teach you the warning signs of alcohol use. In the meantime, you can contact me for additional resources. I am happy to help!