Being too strict with teens can easily backfire. They become secretive and even more rebellious. If home is a place filled with rules (many of which he may have already out-grown) he's going to be much more open to offers to hang out elsewhere. That doesn't mean you give him free reign to do whatever he wants. Just get the basics right. Providing he's respectful, polite and honest, maybe you can turn a blind eye to more minor irritations?
Top tip: Don't ever tell him off in front of his friends, especially if they're more street-wise than him. He will never forgive you. But make sure you've discussed the consequences of bad behaviour in advance - and that he doesn't get away with it.
5. Do more listening than talking
If you find you do all the talking while he adds the occasional grunt, it's time to change. Let him talk and don't interrupt even if he's rambling, mumbling or whinging. When he seems to have finished, encourage him to go on by saying things like 'Oh, I didn't realise that/ it sounds as if you're feeling frustrated/unhappy/lonely. Is that right or have I got it wrong?'
Top tip: If you really want to work out why your teen is mixing with this crowd, you need to understand him better - and that means listening.
Did you know?1. A knife crime is committed every eight minutes in the UK
2. You can buy a gun for just £50
Make sure he's safeGo to www.directgov.org.uk for more ways to protect him
Gangs aren't all badMany teens hang around in 'gangs' to stay safe, not because they're out to intimidate or commit a crime. So don't automatically assume the worst if he goes out with a group of friends.
Ask yourselfDo I know where he's going?
Does he know exactly what time you expect him back?
Can I text or phone him if I'm worried?
Remember; There's a big difference between friends who stick together and a gang of bored teens who roam around aimlessly
Top tip: Trust your instinct, not your fear.