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The words ‘wrong crowd’ are any pre-teen or teen parent’s worst nightmare. You know how it goes; your child brings a friend home, and you get an instant bad feeling. There’s something about this kid you don’t like. They avoid eye contact and have a dark look about them. Sure enough, more kids who put you on edge start to turn up after that. Before you know it, the child you knew and loved has turned into someone you barely recognize. You guessed it; they’ve gotten in with the wrong crowd.
Your first instinct may be to put a stop to things. Think back to your young years first, though. Would you have stopped hanging out with someone because your mom told you to? Of course not. If anything, reacting this way will push your kid further into the arms of those bad influences. Still, not doing anything isn’t an option, either. If you let things slide, these people could impact your child’s future.
The good news is, there are steps you can take to stop that from happening.
Keep their school work on track
Friends come and go, but grades last forever. The trouble is, school work often takes a backseat when cool friends come along. If you take your eye off this ball, then, even a brief time in the wrong crowd could alter the course of your child’s life. To make sure it doesn’t, do what you can to keep their school work on track. You may not be able to dictate who they hang out with, but you can keep them inside until they finish their homework.
Be there for them
During experiences like these, it isn’t unusual for child and parent to become distant. You may pull back because you don’t like the way your child is acting They may pull back because they think you’re down on their friends. The result is that your child feels this bad crowd is the only thing they’ve got. That’s not good.
Instead of pulling away, then, be there for your child as you always have been. Even if this crowd gets them into legal trouble, take the effort to find a criminal defense lawyer to review your case and clear their name. Whatever you do, make sure they know that you support them. By being there, you can bet they’ll turn to you when that bad crowd loses its glamour.
Offer them alternatives
As we’ve already stated, telling your child not to hang out with someone won’t work. What you can do is offer alternative friendships. Have other moms bring their kids around for coffee dates when you know your kid will be home. Encourage them to join local groups which increase their confidence. More often than not, teens get into the wrong crowd because they feel they have no other choice. By showing your child their options, you could stop that cycle before it does any real damage.
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