4 Signs You Should Limit How Much Time Your Teen Spends with Friends

There are times when it's important to limit your teen's access to friends.
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As teens grow older, it’s normal for them to spend more time with friends and less time with family. Spending time with peers is a normal part of teen development and much of the time, a lot of socialization is healthy. But, there are a few times where too much socialization can become unhealthy.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to limit the amount of time your teen spends with friends:  

1. Time with Friends Interferes with Other Responsibilities

If your teen neglects his responsibilities because he’s spending too much time with friends – or chatting with them on social media – he may need help managing his time. Time with friends shouldn’t get in the way of doing homework, completing chores, or taking care of other responsibilities.

If your teen struggles to get his work done, establish rules that will help him take care of his responsibilities first. Tell him he can spend time with friends when his homework is complete and his chores are done. Then, leave it up to him to decide when to complete the work. If he’s motivated to spend time with his friends, he’ll get it done fast.

Time management is an important skill that will serve your teen well. Provide plenty of guidance until he’s better able to decline invitations from friends that interfere with his responsibilities.

2. Your Teen is Hanging Out with the Wrong Crowd

If your teen is hanging out with the wrong crowd,or you suspect your teen is making bad choices when he's out with his friends, intervene by setting limits.

Don’t forbid your teen from having any contact with his friends however, because that approach is likely to backfire. Your teen may rebel or may simply assume he can’t hang out with his friends because you won’t let him – not because he recognizes they’re bad news.

Create rules that will help your teen make healthy choices, despite hanging out with the wrong crowd.

For example, only allow him to visit with his friends in your home, when you’re there to supervise. Teach him skills to resist peer pressure and make it clear that there will be consequences for misbehavior.

3. Your Teen is Breaking the Rules

Spending time with friends is a privilege. If your teen doesn’t follow your rules, take away that privilege. Don’t give him unlimited access to his friends if he’s not earning that privilege.

Grounding your teen from his friends can be a very effective consequence. Depending on the offense, you may want to limit contact with friends for a day, a weekend, or perhaps even an entire week. For the most serious offenses, you may also want to limit contact with friends via social media or over the phone.

4. Your Teen is Rarely Home

While time with friends is a normal and healthy part of adolescence, friends shouldn’t consume all of your teen’s time. If your teen wants to spend the night at friends’ homes more often than he’s at your home, set some limits to ensure he’s spending time with family.

It’s important for you to stay informed about your teen's activities. If he’s out with his pals so much that you struggle to keep track of who he’s with or what he’s doing, you won’t be able to provide the proper guidance. It’s important that your teen is around enough that he’s still being influenced by you and your family values.

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