When you don't approve of your teen's friends

Michael Riera, PhD Author and Educator, shares advice for parents on what to do when your teenage child has friends you don't approve of and the best method for getting your child to stop hanging out with them
What to Do When You Don't Approve of Your Teen's Friends
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When you don't approve of your teen's friends

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A challenging moment for any parent is when all of a sudden your teenager is hanging out with kids you don't approve of and you don't like. Every part of our body wants to tell them that. "Stop hanging out with that kid. He's a bad influence." That will get you no where, in fact, it's worse than no where. It will push your teen closer to that person. One of the things that is happening in adolescence is they are developing independence and autonomy. They want to be able to use their voice. When you don't let them use their voice, the only alternative they feel they have is to grow closer to that person. Instead, first of all understand that they know exactly how you feel about their friends. They are experts at reading body language. They hear the tone of our voice. They know exactly how we feel about them, so no words need to be said. If I notice my daughter hanging out with some kids I don't like, I'm going to focus on her because they are narcissistic by nature, so let's take advantage of that. So I say, "I've noticed changes in you that you may not be noticing. I noticed with your brother or sister, you've been a little rude. You haven't taken care of the dog the way you have in the past. I notice you are not studying as much as you have in the past. I've noticed you've gotten more cynical, a little defensive. Why don't you think about it?" "It's because you don't like my friends, Dad." "No, I'm not talking about your friends. I'm talking about who you are becoming." We don't explicitly tie the two together. What will happen, and I've seen this over and over again, about 75 percent of the time in two to three weeks; your teenager won't hang out with them as much. Many of the things you said is coming out of their mouth that you said three weeks ago.

Michael Riera, PhD Author and Educator, shares advice for parents on what to do when your teenage child has friends you don't approve of and the best method for getting your child to stop hanging out with them

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Michael Riera, PhD

Head Of School, Brentwood School

Michael Riera, PhD, Educator, Author, Media Personality, and Speaker. Michael Riera is the Head of School at the Brentwood School, best-selling author, award-winning columnist, educator, television commentator, and national speaker on issues of children, adolescents, families, and parenting. Mike is the author of Right From Wrong: instilling a Sense of integrity in Our Children, Field Guide to the American Teenager, Uncommon Sense For Parents With Teenagers, and Surviving High School. His most recent book, Staying Connected To Your Teenager, was launched with three appearances on Oprah! For eight years he was the Family Consultant for CBS The Saturday Morning Early Show and also hosted an award winning television show on the Oxygen Network, Life in Progress, as well as his own daily radio show, Family Talk with Dr. Mike. Mike has worked in schools for over 20 years as a head of school, counselor, dean of students, teacher and consultant. 

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