Is your “good kid” spending time with “bad kids”? I have been asked,"What do I do when my child is hanging out with ‘bad kids’?” numerous times.
It’s probably a case of stressed-out adolescents getting together and providing soothing for each other.
The primary aspect involved with this is what’s happening or not happening in the family dynamics. If the child has steadily lost positive relationship with the parent, then the peers are offering the support, acceptance and understanding that the child is not getting from the family.
The family is more than likely generating a negative feedback loop that’s pushing the child away from the family and towards peers. These peers probably have similar issues and/or family dysfunctions as the child. You have to really look at the family dynamics and relationships first to find out why the child is being attracted away from the family to this peer group. The child is going to the peer group to try to get everything he or she should be getting from the family.
To answer this question adequately, there needs to be a conversation with the parents and child. I recommend that parents explore what is contributing to the negative neurological feedback loops within the family. The parents need to identify their negative reactions to their child’s behavior. They need to understand what in their own pasts triggers this negative reaction.
Understanding this is critical in developing secure attachments with children. Parents need to have an understanding of their own childhood attachments. Their own history of attachments and relationships is the blueprint they follow. Until this blueprint is changed they will continue to perpetuate negative neurological feedback loops within the family.
A family counselor can help you get to the source of the negative feedback loop and begin to rebuild the relationship so that the child is receiving the support, acceptance and understanding he or she needs at home.
Ken Thom, MS, LPC is a nationally recognized Christian counselor and writer. He is available for parent and individual coaching. Ken is a Post Institute Certified Family Regulatory Therapist, Certified Coach and Great Behavior Breakdown Instructor as well as a certified BCI parent trainer. Ken's book Christian Parent Wisdom is a daily scripture based medication book for parenting children with challenging behaviors. Contact Ken.