As parents, do we have a say in who our children are friends with? This is a continuation of the article WHO is your friend? Friends are important, but what about values?
What do you think?
I believe that, as parent, we have great influences on our children’s lives from a very young age. Our children model our thoughts, our values, our beliefs, our behavior…
So what if you have a “non approval” attitude of your children’s friends, HOW would you approach the situation?
Should you or shouldn’t you interfere? What do you think? I really want you to think about this before answering…
As for me, my answer is DEFINTELY act!! No question about it.
- Because my children’s happiness is paramount.
- I want the people that my children hang around with have to have a GOOD influence on their lives.
- I want to make sure that their friends have the same values and beliefs.
- I want their friends to truly appreciate and respect WHO my children are.
- I want their friendship to be a network of friends that will empower each and every one of them.
So back to the question, HOW would you approach the situation?
Discuss FRIENDSHIP with your children
There are many ways to go about it, and it depends on your relationship with your children.
- How connected are you with your children?
- How easy is it to open up communication with your children?
Firstly, we need to bear in mind that sometimes it can take awhile to get the message across, and you have to be sensitive in getting the message across.
The rule of thumb is – put yourself in their position. How would you like to be approached on this topic by your parents?
Let me share with you some ideas on how you can approach this topic.
1. Modelling WHAT your message is – i.e. Align and surround yourself with people that you would like your children to be with.
2. Gently approach the topic of friendship, with questions such as “How is you friend so and so? What is she or he doing right now?”
Read their energy and reaction. Is your child enthusiastic about this person? If so, great, ask more questions and get to know that friend better. If NOT, ask even more questions… “Why do you think or say that?”, “What makes him or her think or act that way? Ask Open Ended Questions.
Sometimes your child will not be interested in answering. That’s OK, as it may be because they are finding the conflict within themselves as well…let it be. Rest the topic for a while.
Gently go back to the subject again when the next opportunity arises. Sometimes use a related example, such as a character of a show or movie that both of you can relate to, and use that example to prompt the conversation again.
There are many ways you can approach a topic/subject with your children, but be very aware: the other party MUST be ready to accept the answer, if not, the questioning and advice will cause more friction and backfire.
Let me know your thoughts!
Next article – What if your child finds making friends a challenge?