Bad influences: Is It Possible to Control Them?

Bad influences can permanently affect a person's development. However, as parents, the important thing is not to set strict limits, but to talk and show other points of view.
Bad influences: Is It Possible to Control Them?

Last update: 01 August, 2021

Bad influences in the lives of the children are a concern of the parents that’s very common, especially when they reach adolescence.

It’s an age, as the word itself clarifies (a Latin word derived from the verb adolescere: to grow, to develop), in which the child goes through many changes. They begin to question many areas of life and, therefore, are more susceptible to other influences other than their parents.

The first thing that can be helpful for us to ask is why we regard them as bad influences. Sometimes it can be a simple prejudice. Commonly guided by stereotypes, we tend, for example, to form generalizations about a person based on their appearance. And we do this without even taking the time to talk with them and get to know them.

But why do bad Influences scare us so much? Shouldn’t we trust our children?

Here, the reasons usually come from two situations.

On the one hand, there’s adolescence

(Assuming that bad company starts to worry us from this age, as this is when our children gain independence to choose their friends and begin to go out with them alone). Adolescence is an age of many changes. It’s when our children gain more autonomy, which, in turn, fills them with a feeling that they’re already grown up and capable of making decisions.

A teenage girl looking over her shoulder at group of people sitting at a table.

Childhood has always been portrayed to us as the age of purity and joy, but we know that this isn’t really the case. This time in our lives can have a very hard side, as it’s the time in our lives when we probably hear the word “no” most often.

In addition, in a time when children spend more hours indoors than ever, they don’t go out alone very often. Not to get dirty, not to play with water, not to run, not to make noise (you don’t want to bother the neighbors). It has to be hard for a child!

Therefore, adolescents can see this time in their lives as their first taste of freedom. They can go out alone, their parents don’t control their friendships, their bodies go through very extreme changes, and sexuality emerges.

They experience a kind of appetizer of adult life. This is because all this happens when they still live with their parents, and therefore, they’re still subject to their guidance in life. This is when conflicts begin.

At the same time, there’s a lack of trust in children

Why do we experience it? Of course, that’s something very personal, and each parent must ask themselves why it occurs.

It’s true that children will always be full of  surprises. We don’t have a way to control everything that happens to them, obviously, nor should it be our intention.

Of course, there are those who try. But and we already know that, in addition to being futile, what we achieve is to further remove our children from family life.

The balance between controlling and giving freedom is something that each of us will have to find. We learn as we go.

Regarding the feeling of mistrust, we may believe that our children will deceive us. Or we think they won’t know how to defend themselves when facing a situation that puts them at risk. And this is simply because we spend little time on them, because we have few conversations with them, or because we know little about them.

If so, it’s clear that we’ll be afraid of bad influences. This fear may come precisely from the fact that we’re doing so little to have an influence on them ourselves.

To avoid bad influence, invest time in your children

You have to dedicate time to your children. The problem is that, more and more, the current social structure is set up in such a way that it separates us from them. And this is happening at an increasingly early age.

If we say we’re “just” mothers, it feels almost like it’s a bad thing. It seems that this choice has become a question of “what class we belong to”, as many see it as a financial privilege.

Nobody stops to think that perhaps you’re living on a lot less and that you’ll have to leave your mortgage for later, etc.

Family conversation is something you need to cultivate. Enjoy a meal, comment on things, interpret the world, give them reference points from which to start, make judgments, and finally, create versions of life.

A mother and her teenage daughter conversing on a couch.

Capture their interest

Obviously, for our children to want to hear what we say, we have to be an example for them as interesting people.

One thing that’s very likely to happen is that, during adolescence, our children won’t show the same interest in us as they did when they were young. Therefore, we have to offer them something else.

And for both, one thing is certain, subtlety works much more than “pedagogy”. Bringing home a new book and leaving it out in the open, watching a movie without inviting them, etc, are good ways to spark your children’s interest.

All this can cause them to come to us and become more interested in their parents and not be carried away by bad influences.

One thing’s certain, our children are extremely curious and this gives us many possibilities.

So, when we distrust their friends or think that our children are succumbing to bad influences, let’s try to offer them other more interesting possibilities, making our own lives more interesting as well.

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  • Greenwood, R. (2011). Suelta a Nuestros Hijos: Pasos para liberar a sus hijos de las malas influencias y el acoso demoniaco. Charisma Media.
  • Castro, M. T. G. (1988). El niño en edad escolar y las malas influencias (Doctoral dissertation, 211).