When children hit the adolescent years they tend to want more independence than they ever had before. They also begin to choose their own friends, rather than you choosing friends for them like you did when they were young children.
Though a teen’s peers and friends have a significant amount of influence over them and the choices they make, parents actually have a fair amount of influence over the types of friends their kids choose. This is reassuring for parents who want to keep their kids away from drugs and the need for teen drug treatment.
One of the biggest factors in parents’ influence over their teen’s choice of friends is the type of relationship the parents have with their teen. If you have a relationship with your teen built on communication, mutual respect, and spending time together, then there is a better chance that your teen will choose friends with whom they can have a similar kind of relationship. Choosing to live in a neighborhood with good schools has also been shown to be an important factor in helping your teen stay on a good path and avoid the road that leads to inpatient drug rehabilitation.
Friends impact the way children feel about themselves
As a parent, you can talk with your teen about how to choose friends wisely. Talk about how they feel when they are with certain people. Do certain friends make your teens feel good about themselves? If the answer is yes, then these likely are good friends. If the answer is no, then your teen needs to consider that these are not good people to have in their lives. It is also important for teens to choose friends who have common interests and goals in life. A bad choice in friends might not lead to bad behaviors, but it is common for this to be the case and your teen might be led down the path to any number of behaviors, including drug abuse and the eventual need for teen rehab.
Peer pressure will be a part of life for any teen, whether they have good friends or bad friends. The type of friends your teen chooses will determine whether the peer pressure is good or bad. There are good types of peer pressure, such as the drive to have good grades or try out for the school basketball team, but the fear every parent has is that their teen will fall victim to bad peer pressure and get in with the wrong crowd where drugs and alcohol play a central role. These types of friends can lead your teen to drug use.
Helping children make these choices is a lifelong pursuit
When you help your teen choose the right friends, either directly or indirectly, you are helping them choose the direction their life will take. The friends young people have can significantly affect the path they choose to follow. While nothing is guaranteed, those teens who choose the wrong friends can end up in teen drug rehab and those who choose the right friends can end up as captain of the football team or the winner at the science fair. It’s up to you to do everything you can to help your teen choose the right friends now and for life.
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