Ask the Experts

My Kid is Caught Up in the Wrong Crowd

“My 16-year-old son runs with the wrong crowd. What can I do to discourage these friendships?”

Teenage boy with ADHD walking in woods
Teenage boy with ADHD walking in woods

You really cannot dictate to a teen who his friends should be. But you can steer him toward friends you think will be positive influences. For example, you might plan a special outing, and casually ask him, “Would you rather invite Mark to join us, or Steve?” If you’re worried about what he and his friends are up to, encourage him to invite them over to your house — so you can keep an eye on them. And get to know his friends’ parents. Collectively, you may find it easier to encourage good behavior.

Some simple ways to stay close to your son are to have meals as a family, and to spend time together doing things he enjoys, like shooting hoops or playing a video game. A solid parent-teen relationship is the best insurance against serious teen rebellion.