Parents learn a great deal about peer pressure and young people from specials on television and articles in print and for good reason. The actions of children, from a very early age are greatly effected by what they experience when in the company of peers. It is never too early for parents to cast a wary eye not only towards what their own children are doing but also at the behaviors of the children who surround them. Parents want to protect their children from the negative influences that they see, but they don’t want to put their kids in a bubble. With each passing year parents will more and more want to consider and perhaps try out some of the best parenting advice about kids and their friends.
1. Get to Know who your kids know. From the moment children begin their first preschool program through the moment when they meet their college roommate, parents are anxious about how they will get along. It doesn’t matter what social group children enter – a new grade at school, a new sports team, a new neighborhood – any time their child enters a new social group all the antennae are activated. Parents attitude about how well their children are getting along is immediately shadowed by an equally strong concern that their children aren’t just making lots of random acquaintances but that they are making good, positive relationships.
The best parenting advice about children and their friends starts with the strong suggestion that parents make it a point to take an active role in getting to know who their children know. This knowledge can often be gained by simply being a good listener and a good observer. Who does your son talk about after school ? Who does he think is cool or funny or nice. Who is your daughter playing with in the school yard all the time? And who was that on the phone every day after school . It truly is not enough for parents to be satisfied that their children have found friends. The best parenting advice about kids and their friends is for parents to be proactive in learning about the friendships their children are forming at any age.
2. Welcome children in your home. A good way to get to know your children’s friends is to provide lots of opportunities for your children to invite friends to their home to play or as they get older to simply hang out. Seeing your children with their friends gives you a window into their relationships. You will have a subtle opportunity to witness the overall manners and behavior of your child’s friends. You can also see the level at which one child impacts the behavior of the other.
Of course all parents need to recognize that all children can have a bad day, a day when they aren’t getting along with anyone, a day when they are angry, or tired or just plain out of sorts. Parents should also keep in mind that not every child that comes to your house is going to end up being your child’s best friend. Give your child and his or her friends plenty of room but be observant. You are likely to note that the only thing that passes between children quicker than a cold is behaviors. Seeing your child with his or her friends can awaken you to the influences that are at work in his or her life at any age. Knowing of the existence of different pressures that may be exerted on their children can help you to be more understanding and helpful . The solution is not necessarily to end all potentially pressure laden relationships as much as it is to teach children how to know and maintain their own standards.
3. Get to know the parents of your children’s friends. If you really want to understand the makeup of the children your children are playing with , the best parenting advice about kids and their friends is to get to know their parents. Way more often than not the polite, thoughtful, under control children that show up at your home come from parents who themselves model the same behaviors. On the other hand the parents who are short tempered, ill mannered and display anti social behaviors are likely to be sending out children who cannot help but act out in comparable ways.
Knowing that some kids are coming from difficult home situations is not an indication that your child should end the friendship with that child. Nor does knowing that a child comes from a solid family situation mean that he or she is automatically a great match for your child. Knowing what a child’s parents are like may help both you and your child to be good friends and good examples to a child who could benefit from both. The better you understand a child’s parents and home life the better equipped you are to guide your own child as he or she learns how to get along with others regardless of their background
4. Talk to your kids about their friends. It certainly is helpful for parents to learn as much as they can about their children’s friends by observation and by getting to know counter part parents. Still the best parenting advice about kids and their friends is quite simply to talk to your kids about their friends in an even handed manner. In other words it is equally important to ask questions about your children and their friends when things are going well as it is to ask when things are going poorly. If you only talk with your children about their friends in the midst of a problem then you may begin to develop a negative attitude about some friends, an attitude that can make your children defensive and unwilling to share any further.
Talk to your kids about the things that they like about their friends and the things that sometimes bother them. Make those conversations part of your regular sharing. As children get older try not to be invasive but encourage whatever sharing level they seem comfortable with. Remember in all of these discussions how very important friends are to children and use every tool you have to show your compassion, support, and love for your own child. as well as your respect for their selection of friends.
5.Balance Friend time with Family Time As your children get older they will inevitably fall into a pattern of spending more and more time with their friends and less and less time with their family. It’s normal. But what may be the best parenting advice about kids and their friends is that it is important for parents to make sure that there be some family time mixed in with friend time. The reason for this is simple. Young people need to be reminded sometimes of the beliefs and values that they have been taught. They need to feel the support of being surrounded by people who believe in those same principles. They need time and space in which for a few hours they don’t have to feel challenged.
As much time as pre- teens and teens want to spend with their friends make sure that you as the parent don’t turn over your nurturing role to other teens. You are the parent, you still want a voice and a role in helping your child to mature. So even if it means inviting your teen’s friend along go for that family overnight, take in a movie together or go off on that corny family fishing trip. You , and surprisingly enough your teen, will be glad you did.
Raising children is a difficult task. It can be made more difficult if your children are victimized by negative peer pressure. Parents can arm themselves to help their children by considering the best parenting advice about kids and their friends and then acting on it.