Information for Parents

Impact of friends

The influence of peers whether positive or negative is a large part of children and teens lives. Friends play a major role in their lives. It is crucial for parents to keep communication open and know who you child is hanging out with. Friends often have a large influence over decisions that are made.

Suggestions to stay connected:

  • Get to know the friends of your teen. Learn their names, invite them into your home so you can talk and listen to them, and introduce yourself to their parents.
  • Do not attack your child's friends. Remember that criticizing your teen's choice of friends is like a personal attack.
  • Help your teen understand the difference between image (expressions of youth culture) and identity (who he or she is).
  • Keep the lines of communication open and find out why these friends are important to your teenager.
  • Talk to your teenager about behavior and choices -- not the friends.
  • Encourage your teen's independence by supporting decision-making based on principles and not other people.
  • Encourage reflective thinking by helping your teen think about his or her actions in advance and discussing immediate and long-term consequences of risky behavior.
  • Talking to your teen about remaining alcohol and drug free is crucial!