Friends???

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2003
Friends???
10
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 11:09pm
Just a quick question for my fellow parents of 14 year olds.....How much (if at all) are you involved in your kid's selection of friends? Do you have any rules about who they can hang out with? Do you offer any advice to your kids about the things to look for in a friend? If you do, how do your kids react? Any advice you might offer would be greatly appreciated. I have a 14 year old son who doesn't make the best choices. He seems to be drawn to troublemakers and anti-social individuals.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
In reply to: bitberg
Sun, 10-05-2003 - 12:41pm
Oh, bitberg, BTDT, with my now 19 y/o DS J when he was 14 or 15..and our 19 y/o foster DS S was one of those trouble making anti-social friends! I tried the "I don't want you hanging out with those kids" with J, but that would just make him angry and I'd catch him lieing about where he was going and who he was going with, and just shutting down when I asked him about his friends and what they were doing together. I was fretting about it to a dear friend of mine who's kids are about 10 yrs older than mine, and her advice was to quit objecting to the friends, but to talk about how their activities fit in with the morals and values we'd been raising our kids with. And to keep J involved in our church's youth group, which often dealt with these very issues. We also encouraged him to use his "mean parents" as an excuse if something was happening that he knew was wrong and to get out of there. He had S believing that DH was one strict, hardnosed disciplinarian that could make any punishment brutal - a far cry from the truth. It must have worked, because J has never been in more serious trouble than being late for school too often (because he's a procrastinator at heart) and getting one too many traffic tickets. In addition, when S got kicked out of the house two years ago, and was looking at being charged as an adult with real prison time the next time he got into trouble, he BEGGED the judge, his caseworker, and anyone else who would listen, including us (!) to be allowed to stay with us even though we are not licensed foster parents - but that's a whole different thread.

Only you know your son and how he responds to things, but my grandmother had a favorite saying - "The forbidden fruit usually looks the sweetest" - and I my experience with my kids has proven grandma to be a wise woman more than once.

Good luck to you, these are challenging years!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Sun, 10-05-2003 - 3:20pm

My boys are 13 and 16 and we've always been actively involved in their choice of friends.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Sun, 10-05-2003 - 4:07pm
Just a quick question for my fellow parents of 14 year olds.....How much (if at all) are you involved in your kid's selection of friends? >>

I guess if my son was 'drawn to troublemakers' I'd have to get involved to some extent, my son is 15 and I haven't been involved in his selection too much. At an age when we aren't setting up 'playdates' he's free to go out and find his own buddies to pal around with. He hasn't given me cause to worry yet.

When you say 'drawn to troublemakers' can you elaborate? I can't imagine "picking" my sons' friends but if he were getting in trouble by being *with troublemakers I'd be grounding my son. Why is he drawn to troublemakers? What kind of trouble are they getting in?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 10:39am
I found out that my DS would hang out with guys that he had things in common with. Usually boys who played sports or were in scouts. Get your son involved in an activity where he will meet kids that have the same interests as him. Scouts, 4-H, sports, church, or some classes. Usually kids who are involved in after school acitvities have parents who are involved in their kids lives. Not only did my son and daughter meet some good friends that way, but I met the parents as well, and now I have some good friends. This is also a way to keep an eye on the kids, without them thinking thats what you are doing.
Avatar for heartsandroses2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 11:34am
I am fairly active in helping my 14 and 16 y/o dd's choose appropriate friends. Not so much the 16 y/o these days, as she makes sensible choices.

My 14 y/o, however, she is drawn to every bad egg in town. All of her 'favorite' picks seem to come from very troubled homes: Abusive parents, alcohol abuse, fighting parents, etc. She knows a lot of other nice kids, but seems drawn to the somewhat 'restless' ones, the daring ones, the ones seeking 'excitement'. It's very scary and we talk about it all the time, I've helped her get through so many tough situations with some of these kids and whenever she winds up back in a mess, I can't figure out why she keeps getting herself in with these kids.

Short of forbidding my dd from hanging out with these kids, I have found that very close monitoring is the only answer at this point. I generally do not allow my kids to just 'hang out' at the mall, stores, etc. They must have a destination and plan, with specific times for drop off and pick up. I have, on more than one occasion, flatly forbid my dd from going to certain kids homes nor allowed her to have them over or be sociable with them - which of course she's not happy about, but I think as parents, we sometimes just have to go with our gut on this stuff. I've also allowed her to figure some of it out for herself - which means that she has gotten hurt by these supposed friends and that's very hard to watch, but I think it can be a valuable lesson. The bottom line for me is that she's my dd and want her safe because I love her.

My advice is to go with your gut and keep talking to your son - yes, help point him in the right direction, but also allow him to figure some of it out on his own.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Mon, 10-06-2003 - 2:30pm
Mine are past 14, but I still make an effort to get to know their friends.
Avatar for arwen12
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 8:05am
I generally don't get involved in making choices of my 14yo DD friends.

She has had some that I haven't liked and I generally have liked all her friends, with few exception.

And, those exceptions I have talked to her about it. Usually, I tell her that I don't like a certain friend because it seems that she changes or we argue more when that particular friend is involved.

One example is that she would be on the phone with this one particular friend and she would suddenly talk with this 'urban/ghetto' accent. Now, she only spoke that way when she spoke to thie one friend. I just called her attention to the fact that she was changing herself to be friends with this person and that isn't what it is all about. Her friend needs to like her for who she is naturally. She is still friends with him, but now she is herself.

I've been doing this since she was 8 and she had this friend who bullied her on the phone and she and I would end up in major arguments because this person was bullying her to go against my house rules. At 8 years old! Ugh!

But, I learned then that if I pick on the friend, she stands up for them and if I say I don't like it when we argue whenever you are on the phone with this friend or that you change yourself whenever you are on the phone with another frined, then she thinks about it logically.

So, I never tell her that I don't like the friend. I just encourage her to be herself, be honest.

All that said, she hasn't picked any really questionable or 'dangerous' friends.

So, I'm not sure how I would handle that one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Wed, 10-08-2003 - 11:57pm
Thanks to all who posted replies....I really appreciate the advice and encouragement...One factor that I didn't talk about with my 14 year old is the fact that he is bipolar and has ADHD...additionally, he was almost 5 years old when he came to live with our family as a foster child ( we adopted him at age 7)...he was placed in foster care at age 18 mo...by the time he got to us he had been in 9 different homes...I know there are many issues at work...I guess I was looking for some feedback from a parent of an average 14 year old without adding the complications of the other issues...thanks again for your help and concern..........
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Thu, 10-09-2003 - 12:00am
Thanks to all who posted replies....I really appreciate the advice and encouragement...One factor that I didn't talk about with my 14 year old is the fact that he is bipolar and has ADHD...additionally, he was almost 5 years old when he came to live with our family as a foster child ( we adopted him at age 7)...he was placed in foster care at age 18 mo...by the time he got to us he had been in 9 different homes...I know there are many issues at work...I guess I was looking for some feedback from a parent of an average 14 year old without adding the complications of the other issues...thanks again for your help and concern..........
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2003
In reply to: bitberg
Thu, 10-09-2003 - 12:01am
Thanks to all who posted replies....I really appreciate the advice and encouragement...One factor that I didn't talk about with my 14 year old is the fact that he is bipolar and has ADHD...additionally, he was almost 5 years old when he came to live with our family as a foster child ( we adopted him at age 7)...he was placed in foster care at age 18 mo...by the time he got to us he had been in 9 different homes...I know there are many issues at work...I guess I was looking for some feedback from a parent of an average 14 year old without adding the complications of the other issues...thanks again for your help and concern..........