Changing a bad reputation

Watch Video: Changing a bad reputation by Liz Laugeson, PsyD, ...
Changing a bad reputation | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Changing a bad reputation

A lot of parents, when they have a child that has a bad reputation, will take that child actually out of that school and place them in a new school. And that's kind of the most common strategy that parents seem to have when they're trying to change a bad reputation for their child. But the problem with that is that reputations often follow us from school to school. Maybe it's because we live in a small community and people kind of hear about us through the grapevine. And maybe it's because whatever it is that we were doing to get a bad reputation followed us; we continued to do that at the new school. So we actually have a different strategy for handling a reputation or a bad reputation and changing that. And typically what kids who are successful at changing their reputation do is they begin by doing this thing we call laying low, which is basically that you're trying to not draw a lot of attention to yourself, kind of fly under the radar, and really let your reputation die down. The best thing that could happen at this point is that people forget all about you. And this actually takes several months to do. Summer break is a great time to lay low. But it really does take several months. This isn't something we do in a couple of weeks. Now while we're laying low, what we need to do is we need to kind of follow the crowd. And what that means is that we need to try to fit in as best that we can. A lot of kids who have a bad reputation, they're standing out in some way that makes them unusual from other people. So you want to kind of fit in, stop doing the things that are making you stand out during that period of laying low. Then what you do is you do this kind of dramatic thing where you change your look in some way that gets the attention back on you. And the reality is that when a teenager sees another teenager and notices there's something different about them, they go up to them, right? They're all up in their business, they want to know what's going on with them; kids always want to know what other people are up to. So they see there's something different about you, they want to check you out, figure out what's going on. Now at this point, they're going to call you out on your previous reputation. They're going to tell you what it was that they didn't like about you and what other people didn't like about you. If you deny what they say about you and say, "No no, I wasn't like that. You just didn't know me," then they're going to think that it's just the same old you with a new haircut maybe, and new clothes. But if you own up to your previous reputation and you actually say, "You know, I know people thought that about me, but I'm kind of different now," then you actually don't look defensive and it looks like maybe you are a little bit different and that at this point, now you might actually have an opportunity to make some friends, to find a peer group. Because the reality is that when you have a bad reputation, nobody wants to be friends with you. You get your reputation based on who you hang out with. And if you have a bad reputation, then people aren't going to want to be friends with you. But now, if you follow all these steps for changing your reputation, now maybe you actually have a shot of making some friends.

Watch Video: Changing a bad reputation by Liz Laugeson, PsyD, ...


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Liz Laugeson, PsyD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  Dr. Laugeson is the Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance, which is a collaborative research initiative between The Help Group and the UCLA Semel Institute, dedicated to developing and expanding applied clinical research in the treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.  She is also the Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, which is an outpatient hospital-based clinic providing parent-assisted social skills training for adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other social impairments. 

Dr. Laugeson has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigating social skills training for youth with developmental disabilities from preschool to early adulthood and is the co-developer of an evidence-based social skills intervention for teens and young adults known as PEERS. She was the two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH from 2004-2007, recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. Dr. Laugeson has presented her research at international conferences throughout the world including the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, and Australia. Her work has been featured on national and international media outlets such as People Magazine, USA Today, the LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.

Peer Pressure, Peer Pressure, Friends, Friends
More Parenting Videos from Liz Laugeson, PsyD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter