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What to do when your kid starts hanging out with the wrong crowd?

There's a sense of helplessness when our kids start hanging out with the 'wrong crowd', so to speak. 

 

We get anxious when our innocent sensitive kid gravitates to others who don't have their back. It's painful when your kid disagrees with your assessment.

 

So what's a parent to do? You can't exactly lock them away in a tower for 40 years (tempting). Forcing them to stop hanging out with said scoundrels is probably going to backfire! 

 

You are going to have to play the long game. You'll have to be subtle. A bit sneaky. Strategic. You're going to Trojan Horse the sh** out of this situation (I like to call it a sh*tuation. It presents an opportunity for your relationship to grow stronger over time).

 

The goal is to have the sort of connection with our kids that is predicated upon trust and security. Now. I do not mean trust that they are not going to do something stupid. And I don't mean security like Liam Neeson style parenting (we don't want to use his particular set of skills, unless you like jail). No I mean trust that you are always there for them even though you have firm boundaries, you won't abandon them when they need you. 

 

However, if the relationship with said louts is endangering your child then it is clear. You are right to kick it to the curb.

 

What does a parent need, to do this Trojan Horse 🐴 thing?

 

First adopt a non judgemental stance (not easy) towards their friendship choices. Kids smell judgementalness like it's blood in the water, and they'll bite your arms off (no more hugs for you) of they sense any.

 

Ask open ❤️ hearted /open minded curious questions to understand why they are so besotted. Be prepared to hold your tongue. Resist the urge to roll your eyes. Hold your shock 😯 face. Refrain from unsolicited advice...if you must, tell only relevant stories (keep them short) about your own friendships and how you might have dealt with problems along the way.

 

The long game may not be as long as you think. Asking open questions with an attitude of curiosity is important. This can sow seeds of doubt about the quality of their relationship (they won't admit it and they will not answer half your questions but...you can achieve an 'Inception' level heist without their awareness if your curiosity seems genuine). E.g. 'you seem close. I imagine they treat you well?' You must watch your tone and body language because if you aren't being curious you might be perceived as facetious.

 

When the relationship with the scoundrels turn sour, you'll be there to support them. But do not say 'i told you so'.

 

I pray that your Trojan Horse will prove its value to you in due course.

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