While friendship is sacred, moms and dads are wise to know their kids’ friends and monitor friendships to make sure all is well.
Screening Your Kids’ Friends?
Your first thought is … should I? But what kind of parent are you if you don’t realize the importance of your child’s friends in his life and what he’s learning from the relationship? Your child’s self-concept is affected by the important people in his life from parents to coaches to teachers and friends. While you should let your child choose his own friends, you CAN monitor his behavior within those friendships … and you can direct him toward friends that may be compatible to him, according to author Fred Frankel in the book Friends Forever: How Parents Can Help Their Kids Make and Keep Good Friends.
Here are tips:
• Know your child’s friends and invite them over
• At the end of a play date examine your child’s feelings. Is he at peace or upset? Are the kids compatible? Coupling a passive person with a strong personality is all right if the stronger child pulls your child up rather than knocking him down.
• Sometimes it is helpful to set up your child by purposely exposing him to appropriate peers. Some groups of children just naturally seem to get along well. If your child’s group does not seem to have the right chemistry, it would be wise to intervene.
• Allow kids to pick their own friends
• Beware of over-controlling the friendships your child has. Some parents can be overly controlling and not allow kids to navigate toward real friendships that happen, preferring only to let their kids be friends with their friend’s kids only
OLDER KIDS AND FACEBOOK:
If you can get your older child to “friend” you on Facebook, you can “friend” his best friends (since you know them, right?!) and follow along in their lives.