During the teen years, many adolescents crave peer approval over everything else. They are finding their own identities outside of the family unit and are learning about who they are and what they are all about. There is often conflict during the teen years as parents and teens prepare for the time when teens will be living independently.

Parents want their teens to make the best choices possible. Teens want to be respected and trusted.

One of the areas that this battle plays out is in a teen's choice of friends.

Parents often overestimate the effect that a teenager's friends have on their child. A child's personality and character traits are developed by the age of twelve. You can influence your teen's choice in friends, to some degree, but not necessarily in the open.

Show interest

in your teen's friends. Ask your teen about them.

Get to know their friends

When their friends are around ask them questions and show interest in the things they like.

Keep in mind

, kids that are a negative influence usually do not want to be around their friend's parents.

These steps decrease the likelihood that your teen will feel the need to have a secret social life.

1. Be proactive

Openly talk to your teenager about their friendship script and expectations. Your teen will be finding their own friends for a lifetime.

When they take the opportunity to explore what they want in a friend, they will better know how to find fulfillment in personal relationships.

Rather than discuss this in relation to a particular person, start this conversation as a general one.

Your teen will be able to determine if certain friends fit into their paradigm for friendship if you allow them to explore the issue in a non-threatening manner.

2. Honestly ask yourself why this friend is a thorn in your side.

This is not about who you want to spend time with; it is about your teenager. Look at the friendship from their perspective.

What does the friendship bring to their life?

If you feel that this person is a bad influence for your teen, be ready to explain the reasons why you feel this way.

3. Be prepared with a good reason

If you don't allow your teen to answer one of your questions with a shrug or an, I don't know, you shouldn't do it either.

If you cannot express a reason for your objection to their friend, perhaps it would be prudent to observe a while longer. It is not reasonable to suggest that after one brief meeting you have enough information to form an accurate opinion.

4. Keep the correct focus

The time to discuss this issue needs to be selected carefully. You will want to have an open and frank discussion with your teen about your concerns.

Keep the focus on your teen

If you see the friend treating your teen badly, ask them how they feel and if the behavior is common.

Let your teen see your concern for them

The conversation will go more smoothly if you don't dictate to them.

Choosing a friend is personal and interference from parents can get tricky. Remember to talk to your teen about friendship in general. If you dislike their friend, evaluate your motivation and make sure you have a valid reason before approaching your teen. When you do talk, be thoughtful and always show your love and concern for your child.

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