My teenager’s friends are a bad influence
Empower your teen to think out things for herself
By shifting to a respectful negotiation with your daughter you can help her think through issues for herself and make her own mind up. When contentious issues arise, always try to express your views respectfully while being careful to listen to her point of view. For example, If your daughter accuses you of being a “snob”, you might say “I’m just worried some of the girls don’t see the value of education and this might rub off on you” and then ask her for her views – “What do you think? What is important for you in these friendships?” By listening carefully you might get to some “win-win” solutions. You might accept some of her friendships and get to know some of her friends and she might set some goals for herself in education. Also, sometimes once the conflict is taken out of the situation, your daughter might move on from this group of friends of her own accord.
Work on your relationship with your daughter
Finally, don’t let the conflict become central or derail your relationship with your daughter. Though teenagers are separating from parents, they still desperately need to stay connected in some way with their parents and this is crucial to their wellbeing and security. Use whatever opportunities you have to build bridges and spend enjoyable time with her. Notice the times in the day when you get on best with her (such as meals, coming in from school or watching a favourite TV programme together) and keep these time sacrosanct.
Look to increase other enjoyable times with her in the day, whether this is doing an activity or going for walk with her (if she is agreeable) or simply responding to her request for a lift somewhere as it gives you a chance to chat in the car.
Dr John Sharry is a social worker and director of the Parents Plus Charity. If you would like John to address a particular issue please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret personal correspondence cannot be entered into.