It’s easy to choose your child’s friends when they are little because you are in total control of their schedule and who they spend time with. But as your kids get older, they start choosing their own friend groups.
If your kids struggle to make friends, you may be grateful that they’ve connected with some peers and so you don’t examine those friends too closely.
But the type of friends your child makes is important because those friends WILL have an impact on their lives, for good and for bad. As you teach them to choose friends wisely, these are the things you should be on the lookout for:
Friends who spread gossip and talk negatively about others.
Friends who are bossy and may even bully your child.
Friends who leave your child feeling worse after being with them.
Ask your child: “How do you feel when you join their company and how do you feel when you leave them?”
Friends who will not respect a NO from your child.
They instead pressure your child to do things against their will.
Friends who always insist your child goes to their house and will not come to yours.
Ask yourself “why?” Ask your child why they think their friend won’t come over. There’s definitely a reason.
Friends who are doing things you do not let your child do or encouraging your child to break the rules.
The old saying is true: birds of a feather do flock together. And that’s especially accurate in adolescence. Indeed, one of the main needs of a teenager’s development is to belong to a group and be accepted. That’s why teenagers are always so worried about how they look and act. And once they find a mode of dress, a type of music and a group of kids who accept them, it’s very hard for parents to break through. (Empowering Parents)
When your child is hiding their friends or what they are doing with their friends.
Friends who model disrespect to their parents or to authority and encourage your child to do the same.
Your child’s friends WILL influence them.
Start by teaching your child how to choose a good friend as well as how to be a good friend. If you do not like the friends that your child has chosen or if you have concerns about them, the best approach is to have them around your home as much as possible so you can keep an eye on what they are doing. Teach your child to be the leader and let your family be the positive influence in their life.