Friday, January 12, 2007

What Do You Do When….

What do you do when your child makes a friend with whom you don’t approve?

I said in Some Clarification that all children aren’t created equal. What happens when your child develops a friendship with someone who brings out the worst in them? Children, whose parents, don’t share the same outlook, values, and discipline techniques as you. Tough question… I know… that’s why I’m throwing it out there, folks.

As parents, we run a fine line of protecting our children and letting them have experiences that shape and mold their personalities, and test their decision making abilities. We can’t shelter them from all experiences and “friends” that might not be positive influences. But there must be a line… somewhere. And, when they/us reach that line what’s our role?

Remember, we don’t pay for comment space so go nuts! I’ll re-sort and edit comments in a follow-up post to provide us all with some advice and tools on this subject.

Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

I think it depends on a number of factors. If the child is young enough, you can redirect the attention elsewhere and avoid setting up playdates with the parent (possibly even just being honest and saying you don't like how your children play together). However, since I know of very few infants who are making friends, I doubt this is your case.

If the child is older, then it becomes a question of controlling the environment. Is this a school friend, or someone in the neighbourhood? Is so, then unfortunately there is little you can do directly to avoid the other child. The reality is even if you try to discourage your child from playing with this other child, if they are one of a few available playmates (in the area) or part of a peer group (at school) then it will be pointless. Instead, what you have to do is continue your style of parenting, especially maintaining a firm hand on any behaviour that is contradictory to those rules you expect your child to live by. If you're doing things right on your end, eventually your child will make the decision not to spend time with this other child on their own terms.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. I am not even there yet. and I dread that day. I want to say she won't be allowed to play with that kid. But what so I know, really. I look forward to hear what everyone else has to say.

Angel said...

I had an experience with parents who aren't around for their little ones (watch for an email...too long for the comment section) and so I told my kids, when asked.

"Honey, Mommy prefers you have more supervision. They are really nice people but we should see what so and so are doing."

I have no easy answer. I think telling them too much might get back to the parents as kids say what they remember (bless their hearts) Short and sweet, not nasty or slanderous and divert away to something you'd rather they do or person you'd like them to play with reminding them of how much fun they are. Focusing on the positive not the negative. I'm not sure if it works all the time, but so far it has for me.

Working Gal said...

I would say, invite the other child over to your house all the time. My future goal for when my kids get older is to have the "cool house" that everyone wants to hang out at. Let them watch movies, or whatever, and give them some space. I don't know if this will work in reality - thankfully, my kids are way too little for this!

Mama G said...

No easy answer, so many considerations. My three year old made a friend with a boy at pre-school who has taught him to play a bit rough and say and do things that I do not want my three year old saying or doing. Since I can't control their friendship at pre-school, I've talked to his teacher. I've told his teacher that what my son has started to do and say that I don't like and I've asked her to keep an eye out for that kind of behavior. Also, when my son says something I ask him where he learned that word, and when he tells me "Diego", I try to explain to him why I don't approve of those kinds of words and that I don't want him saying those words, etc. And I tell him that if he heard Diego saying those words at school that he needs to tell the teacher right away.

Long-winded answer, I know. We can't protect our kids from all of the kids we disapprove of. And we can't always choose their friends. But we CAN talk to our kids and teach them right from wrong. We can make them feel good about who they are as little people and teach them to make the right decisions. That, and a healthy dose of luck might be the trick!

Mike said...

We tried the inviting over thing. Then we just sort of became the defacto drop off spot for the other parents to run errands, go to the gym, catch up on housework.

All while I could not do any of that stuff, since I had an extra kid to keep up with.

So it sort of backfired on us when I had to explain why that boy wasn't coming over very often anymore.

Angel said...

Ouch... mike. That is a serious backfire to definitely remember. Thanks!