So your child brought home a new friend from school and, to say the least, you're not a big fan. Maybe their friend seems to be a school bully, a manipulator, someone who doesn't like to share or maybe you can't quite put your finger on it. Regardless, you don't want your child hanging around this new friend, but how do you stop them?
The reality is that children take pride in being able to make their own decisions — such as decisions on who they call friends. So to tell your child not to hang out with their friend might actually have adverse effects and cause rebellion.
Here's what you may want to consider doing instead.
First and foremost, perhaps you want to sit back and trust your child's judgment. Unless their friend has exhibited any explicitly poor behavior, it may be worth taking some more time to get to know your child's friend (and perhaps even their parents). You may end up warming up to them.
Again, children take pride in their decision-making skills. For that reason, do your best to avoid letting your child know how you feel about their friend. You don't want to give them any more reasons to go running to their friend in rebellion or looking for ways to justify their friend's actions.
If you don't want your child hanging out with the one friend you don't like, suggest group play dates to get them surrounded by other friends, as well. This way, they may see for themselves that other friends seem to be better friends. They may even see how the friend you don't like tends to treat others and decide for themselves that they don't want to associate either.
Instead of discluding trouble friends or not allowing them in your home at all, consider keeping an open-door policy so that all of your children's friends are welcome — so long as they play by your rules. Allow them to hang around if they promise to share and be kind (or whatever else you feel they don't do well or enough of!). This may help pull them out of their negative behaviors, as your child and your family may have a positive impact on them.
Talk to your child about joining more social activities, such as sports that require them to make friendships founded upon teamwork, collaboration and communication skills. This may keep them busy with friends who also share these values, so they'll naturally start spending less time with the friend you don't like so much.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.
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