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What to Do if Your Teen is Hanging Out With the "Wrong Crowd"

Teen sitting in car

Let's face it, if your good teenager is hanging out with a bad group of kids, it's unlikely that his or her good behaviors will rub off on them. Sadly, it's much more likely that the opposite will happen and their bad behaviors will begin rubbing off on your teen.

There are things you can do to help prevent this:

  • First and foremost, pay close attention to your children's companions and learn to recognize symptoms of bad behavior.
  • Understand that "the bad crowd" can be attractive to your teen because the social payoffs of positive behavior come much more slowly than the emotional payoffs of negative behavior.
  • Go out of your way to provide abundant positive praise to your children whenever they engage in appropriate or expected behavior.
  • When you "catch your teen being good," reward him or her immediately and accordingly.

If you do these things, you'll greatly increase the chance that your teen will eventually see that although the rewards of good behavior may not be as immediately gratifying as those that come from bad behavior, they are more pleasant and easier to attain.