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How Can I Protect My Child from the Negative Influences of His or Her Friends?

Group of teens

‚ÄčIf one of your child's school friends is involved in negative or dangerous behaviors, it's best to clearly communicate your concerns to your child.

This can be done in a positive manner so your child understands that while you are not attacking the friend, you don't want him or her to use those same behaviors. 

For example, if one of your child's friends gets into a car accident after drinking alcohol, you can discuss with your child why underage drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol is so dangerous. Keeping your conversation focused on the behaviors in question will be more effective than making judgmental statements like, "I don't like your friend" or "I think she's a bad kid."

Also, engage your child and ask for his or her opinion and input. You may find out your child already had some concerns about the friend and his or her behaviors, and wanted you to provide some advice and direction about the situation. 

You also may want to limit your child's interactions with the friend. You might say they can hang out together but only at your house, where you can monitor what's going on. Or you might suggest that they take a break from each other while the friend works out his or her issues.

The bottom line is that you need to do whatever you can to keep your child safe and direct him or her away from dangerous and negative behaviors.