Terrified your teen’s in a gang?

It seems like there are gangs of teens lurking on every street corner. So how can you stop your child from joining them?

Get real

Teenagers want to belong. ‘Fitting in’ with their peers is incredibly important to them.
If they’re demanding a fancy new phone, you can bet it’s because all their mates all have one. The same goes for designer clothes and other must-have gadgets. You can moan about it all you like and you can give endless lectures about ‘not following the crowd,’ but the chances are it’ll fall on deaf ears.

So try these clever ploys instead;

1. Don’t over react
Teenagers need to experiment with everything, including friendships. At this stage in life one of their aims is to shock you.
If they can combine this with hanging out with people they know you’ll hate, you can bet they will. Sadly, the shock value (ie seeing your face) can make undesirable friendships last far longer than they naturally would.

Top tip: Make a huge effort to ignore them and chances are this friendship will fizzle out rapidly

2. Make their friends welcome
This will really surprise them and it will help you too. Let your teen know their friends are always welcome in your home, and that they can have privacy, within limits. This will be a tempting offer. A warm, friendly house is a far better prospect than a cold, wet street corner. And of course, it eases your anxiety because it means you know exactly where they are and that they’re safe, even if their friends aren’t your cup of tea.

Top tip: Once you get to know these new friends you may find they’re not as bad as you thought. But if they are, at least they’re near enough for you to keep an eye on them

3. Let them know you trust their judgement
If you criticise your teen’s friends, he will take it personally and believe you are questioning his judgement, which, lets face it, you are. This will inevitably lead to a row and a vow from your teen to keep his dubious friend for as long as he wants. So instead, be clever. Remind him that you trust his judgement and are sure he must have good, valid reasons for this friendship, which you’re keen to understand. Ask gentle questions about him. Why do they get on so well, what do they have in common etc.