Parenting a teen can be tough, especially when they start bringing new friends home. With all the different friends your child is bound to make, it’s pretty likely you’re going to dislike at least one of them. Here’s what to do to keep this small issue from becoming a big problem.
The first thing you need to do is think about why you don’t like your child’s friend. If it’s a matter of conflicting personalities, just ignore it. You probably don’t like all your spouse’s friends either, but your spouse is capable of choosing their own friends and so is your teen. You’re not the one who has to be friends with them. As long as your child is behaving and acting responsibly, let them keep the right to choose who they hang out with. Who knows, you may grow to like them once you get to know them better.
Don’t tell your child the things you don’t like about their friends. Teens are stubborn; it’s unlikely they’re going to stop hanging out with someone just because you dislike them. If your child really likes their friend, you risk alienating them by expressing your negative opinions. If you’re really concerned about their friend’s behaviors, try encouraging positive behaviors in your teen before criticizing the negative behaviors of their friends.
If your child’s friends begin to get in trouble, don’t automatically take it out on your kid. Explain to your teen that you disapprove of their friend’s behaviors and that you expect different things from them. While you may want to keep your teen away from troublesome friends, it may be better just to make special rules for dealing with that friend. Make sure they’re supervised or check in more often. Try not to place too many restrictions on your teen because of their friend’s behavior.
Your teen is getting older and learning to make their own decisions, including who they hang out with. The best way to influence your teen’s choices is to make sure you’re one of their friends too.