As a parent, your feelings about your child’s friends are likely coming from a gut instinct that they may not be a good influence on your child in some way.

But the best thing you can do is to help your child navigate their friendship, rather than trying to control who they connect with. 

You have to be very careful not to say or do something that will turn your child into a rebellious toddler or teenager that will head right in the opposite direction.

So how do you deal with your own feelings toward your child’s friends?

Here are a few tips to help you:  

  • Talk to your child

A good place to start is to talk to your child about healthy friendships and what is expected of them in their relationships with other kids. This will help them realise when a friendship is not a positive one. 

  • Be clear about your rules

The other child may do something that annoys you. If so, it may help to explain your rules. Families have different ways of doing things, so it’s not fair to be mad at a child for not respecting your rules when you haven’t set them out clearly.

  • Help your child develop good morals

When your child has strong morals, they will likely choose friendships with kids that match their values and beliefs.

  • Help your child to problem solve

Discuss scenarios with your child that may have happened with a friend in the past. Ask your child what would be the best way to handle such incidents in the future and help them find solutions to tricky situations. It’s a great opportunity to help your child see the dynamics of a healthy friendship. 

  • Pave the way for other friendships

Sometimes children stay with a friend that is not so kind because they think they have no alternative. Even though you can’t make friends for our child, you can create different opportunities for them to make new friends. Some possibilities include encouraging your child to invite different friends over, or getting your child involved in new after-school activities.

Never badmouth another child

It may be tempting to say negative things about the other child, but try to resist the urge. It’s not appropriate to say bad things about a friend or their family. Anything you say has the potential to create separation between you and your child. It is also likely to create more difficulties when it gets back to a friend’s parents.