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Teen running with the wrong crowd?

By Esther Muchene - Apr 10th 2022
Teenage Mothers cuddle their babies in the dormitory at Prestige Teenage Mothers School in Subukia on March 13, 2022. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

As parents are busy chasing money, children are at home, many left to their own devices. Not bad if they have a structure to follow. However, all children struggle socially and falling into the wrong circle becomes very easy.

Once they find peer acceptance, they will do anything to fit in doing whatever it takes, even going against their parents’ wishes just to please their friends.

These dangerous bonds can lead to destructive behavior and trying to get them away from those ‘bad’ friends may be like trying to separate two magnets.

Interestingly, children may share no similar interests with their friends but what draws them is the desire for different or new experiences.

If you find yourself frantically searching through your child’s belongings to confirm your suspicions, your 'parent radar' is probably onto something and you shouldn’t ignore it.

When a child is acting out of character and he or she is now exhibiting a snarky attitude towards you and any other form of authority, this is a sign they might be engaging in questionable behavior. 

You will also notice suspicious behavior like sneaking out of the house. This is a sure indicator they are moving with the wrong crowd. At other times they will come home reeking of alcohol and this may escalate to drug use.

Along with this, they may also start dressing differently. Girls for instance may start wearing makeup, get piercings and lean towards provocative outfits.

When you find yourself in this challenging position, do not push too hard or you will drive them away.

Find the right time to talk and spend uninterrupted time with them. Candid conversations may reveal that they are feeling. Some could just be crying for attention or your job keeps you away from home.

Whatever the case may be, find the root problem and agree on making the necessary changes.

On the flipside, it is also important to show your children that their relationships are important and it may, therefore, be a good idea to meet their friends.

Don’t be too quick to judge them but get to know them and go further to meet their parents.

Once that is done, establish clear rules and let them know of the consequences of violating boundaries. And to foster and encourage good behavior, offer positive rewards and incentives.

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