Whether we want to or not, we often spend a lot of time with – or hearing about – the parents of our kids’ friends. Sometimes they’re amazing people – we connect with them on many different levels. Other times, they’re exactly the people we don’t want having any influence over our children. Remember when our parents said that one of our friends was “bad news” or a “bad influence”? Maybe it was really some bad advice those kids were getting from their parents that led them astray.
So what do we do when our kids make friends with children and we don’t agree with how they’re being raised? How do we keep their parents’ style from impacting our own children? Well, we took it to our Dad Community for their insight. Here’s what they had to say:
● Instill your beliefs continuously. Maybe they’re religious, political, or even behavioral beliefs, but keep reiterating not only what they are, but why you think they’re important. A lot of times as parents we can be very short in our explanations of why things are the way that they are. But kids thrive on knowing the why. So tell them.
● Talk to them. Keeping lines of communication open (and non-judgmental) is so vital with our kids, especially as they get older. Have those conversations with them about your feelings about their friend’s family and why you aren’t comfortable with them spending time there.
● Keep them busy. While you can’t control the school schedule, you can control your home schedule. Running interference and keeping your kid busy and involved in other things might fizzle out that relationship and start a new one with kids involved in the same activities.
● Give them space. We have to let kids make their own decisions and choices sometimes regardless of whether we think we know better. Of course, we’ve been there before, but to learn and grow you need to figure things out on your own. Hopefully by communicating with your child – and continuously going over your family values – your child will come to the conclusion on their own that the relationship might not be the best thing for them.
It’s also important to note that maybe some of us were “those kids” growing up and what we were lacking was someone to give us a little guidance. It can be incredibly helpful as parents to go out of our way to see if there is anything we can do to steer kids in the right direction. Your home can also be a safe space for kids trying to change their life and that could have profound effects on their future.
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