Why do teenagers listen to their friends

Bad influence: When the child has the "wrong" friends


Our daughter is 16 and has had a new girlfriend since this school year. This one smokes, drinks and is naughty. Admittedly, we can't stand them. The two of them often hang around at home, but also travel a lot. Our daughter's friend speaks vulgarly, and our daughter has already accepted that. We've always had a good relationship with her, but now she's also totally rebellious and pisses us off all the time. I'm pretty sure the girlfriend isn't going to be a good companion for her. We have also tried to talk to her about it calmly. She then immediately feels attacked and blocks. Lately she has been staying with her friend a lot and doesn't come home all weekend.

In all honesty, we're a little worried that it will slip away from us. We used to spend the weekends together, go to see our grandparents or go to the cinema. Now we and our relatives are all just "victims". Please give me some advice on how best to deal with the situation. Talking doesn't help, as we're obviously the most uncool parents under the sun.

Answer from Hans-Otto Thomashoff

I understand that you are in a bind. However you react, it seems wrong. But you should take your concerns seriously, because the peer group and thus the friends have an important influence on young people in their search for their own identity.

Blanket bans are useless, you have recognized that well, but adult identity includes not only rights, but also obligations. You should demand that calmly and naturally. This includes, among other things, a civilized way of dealing with each other, and you should demand that. Flogging is not okay, and you should clearly state your displeasure with it: "This is not how we talk to each other in our house." It is crucial to limit the undesirable behavior and not to devalue your daughter (or girlfriend) across the board. I know it's hard when you get really irritated. With all the potential for conflict, your daughter should also know that you will always have an open ear for you and that you will be there for you in an emergency.

You have already met your girlfriend - and you don't like her. Maybe it would help to get to know their parents too. If they prove to be anti-social, your concern is even more justified. At the same time, you may gain arguments with which you can make your concern understandable to your daughter. "Do you really want to be like this?"

An important indicator of whether the situation threatens to become critical is school performance. If there is really an imminent danger, for example through drugs or crime, I would try to take my child temporarily to a different environment, through a longer trip or a year abroad, if that is somehow possible. (Hans-Otto Thomashoff, December 26, 2019)

Answer from Linda Syllaba

Unfortunately, as parents, we cannot choose who our children will choose as friends. The more you fight against it, the stronger your daughter will defend. You don't have to like this friend, but you may still be able to find out what makes her so appealing to your daughter. This may give you some insight into what your daughter is currently doing. And that sooner or later we as parents become "uncool" is part of the process of replacing the autonomy phase. Puberty means defining yourself, trying out what suits you or what doesn't - regardless of what the family had to offer up to now. This often goes hand in hand with extremes that are tested.

If you worry that your daughter will "slip away" from you, I regret to have to confirm that you will not be able to hold you. Your daughter will and must go her own way, independently of you. Ultimately, that's how it should be. So that the connection between you remains a loving one, you need parents in this phase who are trusting and at the same time clear. My teacher Jesper Juul always talked about treating teenagers in such a way that we cause the greatest possible resistance and the least possible harm. Be clear in your announcements, and above all: trust your daughter.

The 16 years of your previous preparatory work now form the foundation for what you yourself make of it. If so, feel free to tell her in personal language, "I don't think much of your girlfriend, but I trust you because I know you are a smart girl." Or: "It is important to me that you take good care of yourself. I am not always with you, which is not so easy for me, so you are responsible for yourself." Or: "I don't like this vulgar language at all. If you want, talk to your friends like that, just join in." me not! "And then there is one more thing:" Be careful what you do, because as long as I am jointly responsible for you, it means that you are dragging me into your misery. "

In any case, it is too late for upbringing in the classical sense. Therefore, you should now trust and do relationship work. It is important that your daughter knows that you are still there for her when she needs a haven. And you will wave to her trustingly and lovingly when she sets sail for her journey into adult life. (Linda Syllaba, December 26, 2019)