It is normal for a parent to want their child to have one or more friends. Parents usually do not mind if the friends of their child are not the most popular kids in school. Parents want their children to have several good friends in school. A problem arises if the child becomes friends with kids that the parents do not approve of. Parents would prefer that their child become friends who can be a good influence on their child.
When the child is very young, the parent usually controls who their child is friends with. The child’s friends are generally the children of the parents’ friends or the children in the playgroup chosen by the child’s parents. However, when children start going to school, they will be selecting their circle of friends. Usually, they choose kids who have similar personalities. Or they may choose kids who have the same values as they do. Or they want to be friends with kids who are interested in the same things as they do.
According to Susie Raskin MA, LMHC, “Socializing is incredibly important to teens. It’s part of their developmental process. As anyone that has a teen or worked with teens knows, friendships are crucial.” As children grow, the opinions of their friends have a more significant influence on them than the views of their parents. This will be very disconcerting to parents, who, for years, have controlled almost every aspect of the lives of their children. But what should a parent do if their child has friends who are not a good influence?
Do Not Be Quick To Judge His Friends.
Parents should try to get to know the friends of their children. They should not judge the friends of their children based on their first impression. A child might appear violent and loud. However, this does not necessarily mean the child wants to inflict harm to others or wants to create chaos and havoc. Allison Ricciardi, LMHC said, “How parents navigate this difficult phase can make a huge difference in not only the ultimate outcome but in the daily strife that occurs.” The child might be bored or might have a high energy personality. A little girl might continuously be talking about boys. However, this does not necessarily mean that the little girl is interested in boys. The little girl might just be copying the behavior of her teenaged sister. On the other hand, children who seem innocent and clean might have deep issues and inner turmoil.
Do Not Force Your Kid To Stop Their Friendship.
Children do not like it when they are told to do something that they do not want to do. Parents may wish to control their children’s selection of friends to minimize their exposure to the evils of society. However, this is not feasible in the long term. Instead, parents should teach their children how to choose their friends.
Specify Limits And State Expectations.
Specify expectations regarding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable based on the values, beliefs, and rules of the family. These expectations should be clear and consistent. And specify consequences if these expectations are not met. It is also advisable for parents to define rules regarding how and where their children can interact with their friends.
Know Why They Are Friends.
Children select friends for particular reasons. It can be helpful to parents if they understand these reasons. Children might choose friends due to loneliness. Or a child might choose a friend who has qualities that he lacks and admires. Or a child might want a friend who has the same personality.
Concentrate On The Behavior.
Richard Zwolinski, LMHC says “There is an ongoing debate about whether or not teenagerhood is a cultural phenomenon or whether it is a description of a transformation that occurs mentally and emotionally during adolescence.” Identify the specific quality or trait of the friend that you have a problem with. Most of the time, parents discover that it is the friend’s behavior that they have a problem with. Then try to comprehend what could be the reason behind the behavior.