Adults are pretty predictable sometimes. When a kid gets in trouble we tell them the same old things. In fact, multiple adults tell them the same things. And you know what? I don’t think they’re true. We tell kids things like, “Think about who you’re hanging out with.” “Pick different friends.” “You might want to change your friends.”
Wait a minute, is the kid you’re talking to the “good” kid and the other ones are the “bad” kids? Do you say that to all the kids? Do you realize that there is a reason that they’re hanging out with the kids they’ve chosen? If they are hanging out with a group of kids and the group is doing things that are not good for them, breaking school rules, or even breaking laws, there’s a reason. If they change their friends does that solve the problem?
Super simple advice, like “change your friends” doesn’t address what is going on. Usually, those friends are filling a need, sometimes an unhealthy need, but a need nevertheless. Sometimes those friends they’re hanging out with are the only ones who understand them. The only ones who are welcoming. Sometimes those friends are some of the most understanding people out there. And sometimes they’re not.
But telling a kid not to hang out with them addresses the symptom, not the problem. But the adults feel like they did something. Like they gave them the right advice. The adults don’t know it but at times they look like idiots. Either that or the kid just feels worse.