Updated: Mar 4
Friendships can create lasting memories for children. While you may have been able to control who your child hung out with when they were younger, as they get older it is not always possible. Chances are, you are going to dislike at least one of their friends, but what should you do if you don't like your child's friends? Read on for my top tips...
1) Never tell your child
Telling your child that you don't like their friend is likely to make said friend even more appealing so instead, observe from a distance and if you think that their friend is a bad influence, have a chat about good and bad choices, peer pressure and how to say no to anything they don't want to do. This needs to be done in a way that leaves your child able to come to their own conclusions after hearing of the pitfalls and potential consequences though, not you having a go at them or telling them what to do.
2) Don't judge a book by it's cover
By this I mean don't judge a child based on your dislike of their parents. It can be easy to let your judgement be clouded because you disagree with how they parent or you have a personality clash, but it's best to keep an open mind and see the child for who they are and not who their parents are. - as hard as it may be. Also, have faith in your child's judgement - are they likely to be friends with someone who is not so nice?
3) Be friendly
It's not so much as, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer", rather that "it pays to be kind" and talking to your child's friends when they come over, having conversations with them and generally being nice can make all the difference - they will feel comfortable and therefore less likely to act up.
4) Ask questions
Ask your child about their friend in a non-judgemental way - "What do you like about xxx?" or, "What do you enjoy doing together?". This may change your perception of that friend and also helps keeps the lines of communication open between you and your child, so that they will feel more inclined to open up if they need to.
5) Think long-term
Children's friendships often don't last long, as their interests and activities change. So, there is every chance that this friendship won't last, however, there is also every chance that your child and their friend grow up and their friendship could actually improve. Both scenarios are great learning tools to help your child with future relationships, so whatever happens, your child will be gaining something from having that friendship.
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