DEAR COACH RICHIE: My teen is hanging around with the wrong crowd. How can we keep our 17 year old from hanging with these bad influences. I feel like I am failing as a parent. We have tried to talk to him but he won’t listen.
COACH RICHIE: It is so difficult to see watch when our teen is hanging around with the wrong crowd. There has to be a better question in there somewhere. That question is based on the belief that we have control over them. Taking our son away from a crowd. What would be a better question? What about how can I help my son see that the crowd he is hanging with will not help him become the emotionally strong human being that he needs to become in order to have a successful life?
When our teenagers start hanging around with people that are bad influences the usual cause is because they have become disconnected with us as parents. Too many reasons why this happens to list them here. So let’s assume he is disconnected. What do you think he needs most right now in his life? What do you think he may be having challenges with that is causing him to become a follower instead of a leader? Our children hook up with that teen tribe sometimes because they are scared of making decisions on their own and following others is an easy way to avoid making those hard decisions.
Ultimately it is their life and their choices. We are merely passengers on their journey. As parents we want the best for our children and want them to be successful and sometimes in moments like this they don’t want that. Then it cripples us with sadness, guilt and fear because we compound this challenge in the moment by stating they will become a failure as an adult. We can’t control them, we don’t own them and they are entitled to do whatever they want. When we do lose our connection with them and they turn to the dark side we have two choices. Number one.
Try to control them and tell them they shouldn’t hang out with those kids. (Then they do it anyway and they hate us for trying to control them). Number two. Give them the mentoring, love, support and coaching they need and give them the space to figure it out for themselves. Either way they are going to do what they want anyway. Why not stay on their good side and love them then having an enemy. if they want to hang out with those friends and we are fearful of that and we support their decisions when they do fall we can be their to help them up and reconnect with them and bring them into our parenting sphere of influence.
We have to remember that the lessons we allow them to learn are the lessons they have for life. By sheltering them and trying to control them we keep them from receiving these gifts. Some of these lessons are hard but that makes us who we are and when we strip that away from our children they don’t learn about life. The biggest life lessons are the hardest ones. A couple of questions you can ask yourself to take a little pressure off of you. What do I fear the most from him hanging around with this group? What have I already created in my mind for his future? Why do I feel as though I need to control this aspect of his life when he wants to be free to make his own decisions about who he wants to hang out with?
Who would i be as a mom if I didn’t hold onto this fear? Who would i be as a person without this fear? When we drop all of our expectations for our children it opens up a lot of space for not only them but for ourselves. We deserve a break to and worrying about things that we can’t control is a burden that we need not carry. In closing, when you speak with your son are you really listening to him. Far to often as parents we are quick to interrupt so we can insert our own advise, wisdom and lecturing into the conversation.
We want to give them a quick fix and all they really want is someone to hear them and not say a word. because if we listen to them they rarely ever ask us for advice. Hope something here helps. Mom you have to give yourself a little break because at the end of the day we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have and what we learned from our parents. So in the end the question is not why my teen is hanging around with the wrong crowd and how to get him to stop. It is what does he need in order for him to become reconnected to me as a parent.
All my love and support on your parenting journey
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