These days, it may seem nearly impossible to know who your daughter is hanging out with on a daily basis. The days of play dates have long since past, and your daughter is probably setting up meet ups with her friends over social media. Who you’re friends with has an incredible amount of influence over the way you act and speak. For young girls, especially, picking the right group of friends is crucial to future success. When your daughter chooses a negative peer group, she may have just written off her entire future. That’s why it’s really important to know if your daughter’s friends fall into the “negative peer group” category.
Spotting the signs
Paying attention to the warning signs that your daughter may be hanging with a negative peer group is the first step to changing her negative behavior patterns. Warning signs include:
- Impulsive, risky behavior: If you’ve recently caught your daughter doing something risky or impulsive, like yelling at a teacher or staying out extremely late with friends, that may be a sign she’s not friends with the right people.
- Hanging with older friends: If your daughter is hanging out with people significantly older than her, that’s definitely a problem. She may think it makes her feel “cool”, but older people are into things like drugs and alcohol. Not something you want her getting into.
- Drop in school performance: If your daughter’s friends don’t care about school, neither will she.
- Becoming increasingly distant: It’s natural for children of a certain age to begin distancing themselves from their parents. However, if your child is completely shutting you out, that’s a sign that there’s a problem. Your daughter might be getting involved in illegal activities like smoking and drinking and doesn’t want you to find out about it.
- Kicking old friends to the curb: If your daughter has ditched her old friends and is hanging out with a new crowd that you don’t know, you should be wary of them. They may be a negative peer group.
Steering your teen away
Stopping your daughter from getting involved in a negative peer group is all about open communication. Strike up a non-judgmental conversation about what’s going on in your daughter’s life. Find out more about her interests and what she sees in her new group of friends. Most importantly, offer her unconditional love and support. She needs to know that you’re there for her even if you disapprove of her friends.
Instead of forbidding her to see those friends you regard as a “bad crowd”, encourage her to get involved in extracurricular activities like sports, theatre, or band that can help her make better, less negative friends.
If your daughter is hanging out with a bad crowd and she’s beginning to take on some of their behaviors, you should consider sending her to a therapeutic boarding school. Asheville Academy for Girls helps young girls ages 10-14 with emotional and behavioral issues work through their struggles.
For more information about how Asheville Academy for Girls can help your daughter, call 800-264-8709 today!