- Every parent hopes to be their child’s best friend! While this may work out during their toddler years, exposure to school, different environment and activities leads them to pick new friends.
- Fortunately, most of these friendships are value additional in their younger years, but the dynamics of their friendships may change as they grow into their teens.
It is during the pre-teen and teenage years that children become more opinionated and wayward in their activities. During this time, they may not be the pretty little babies you used to know and many parents often wonder how to deal with this stage of life. It is also inevitable that you may dislike at least one of your teen’s friends with fears that they may be leading them astray.
In an effort to help you navigate this phase of life, here are some suggestions that may make handling of teen friendships smoother for any parent.
- Avoid saying “I Don’t Like your friend”
If nothing else, this is the most important thing to avoid because your child will immediately get defensive of their friends. Instead of pronouncing that you don’t like one of your teen’s friends, a better way to try to deliver the message is by giving examples of behaviour that concerns you.
- Find out why your teen likes the friend that you don't like.
Pick a friendly conversation and ask your teen why they like their friend. You may find out some very interesting and surprising information. Perhaps this friend understands your child in a way that others don't and in gaining such knowledge you are able to understand the friendship.
- Practise a lot of observing.
Keen observation could reveal thing you previously overlooked. You need to look for both the positive and negative in their interactions and that way you get to know about the chemistry in their relationship. It is always helpful to have evidence that helps you make informed decisions rather than making assumptions.
- Have the friend over to your house.
Familiarity is a good thing. As mentioned earlier, presumptions and assumptions are often wrong so the best way to dispel them is by having your teens and their friend hanging out and getting closer to you as a parent. That way you are able to advise them both.
- Do not forbid your teen to spend time with the friend unless there are danger issues present.
With teen, we all know that teens will go for what they are warned from doing. It is part of their growing up/rebellious phase. So, if you have to forbid them from something, have concrete reasons.
It normal to want the best for your children especially in their teen years. However, it is a big mistake to assume that the friend is influencing your child negatively.
Think outside of the box. Perhaps the reverse is true and it is your child who is the negative influence. I know that we hate to think of our kids this way but they too are human and not flawless.
Overall, don’t be so harsh on your teen and their choice of friends. Even when the friendship folds and has the chance to come back on, individuals of all ages change and everyone deserves a second chance.