Sue Scheff: Who are your teens hanging with?

Last fall Dr. Michele Borba, TODAY Show Contributor, released her largest book ever! The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions - 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.

In a 10 part series on Examiner, I explored only a tiny fraction of what BBPS (BIG Book of Parenting Solutions). Parenting Resolutions with Solutions is a 4 part series that shared 101 topics that are covered in BBPS.

Today the topic is bad friends (social scene section). Turn to page 315 and learn about how your kids are choosing friends and why. Find out the problem, the red flags, and why sometimes change is necessary. You will also find solutions!

Here are some signs and symptoms that your child may be choosing less than a desirable peer group.

  • Secretiveness. Your child becomes very secretive, locks his room, and covers up what he is doing.
  • Changes in appearance. Your child starts wearing "provocative" attire, wants only pricey or name-brand items, has a complete change in hairstyle, or starts wearing gizmos that "just aren't your kid."
  • School problems. Your child's grades drop; he loses interest in school, gets detentions or tardies, doesn't turn in homework; you have received worried calls or notes from his teacher.
  • Changes in activities. Your child pulls away from past friends; sees this kid exclusively; is negative about "former" pals; or quits a team or sport or other activities that he has always loved.
  • Character changes. Your child's integrity and your family values, culture or religious beliefs are affected; he is more withdrawn, moody, or sad.
  • Untrustworthiness. You can no longer count on your child's word; he lies, doesn't keep his promises, isn't where he say he is, misses his curfew, sneaks out.
  • Decline in reputation. Your child's image is negatively affected; teachers, coaches, other parents, or kids pull away or say your kid "has changed" - and not for the better.
  • Tense family relations. You and your child have frequent arguments, and your relationships with your child is strained.
  • Violence. Your child is preoccupied with violence in his drawings, writings, vocabulary, or choice of activities.
Of course any kid could show some of these traits, and they may have nothing to do with the friend he is hanging out with. The trick is to keep a closer eye on your child and this new friend: how many of these symptoms showed up because this kid came into his life? Also, are you sure the other kid is the negative influence---not vice versa?

The entire social scene section of BBPS covers so much more. Cliques, Drinking, Peer Pressure, Sex, Swearing and more.

If you are parenting today or going to be a parent, this book is a must in your library of parenting books. Order today!

Read more on Examiner.

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