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10 Useful tips when you dislike your kid’s choice in friends


Lisbokt | Flickr CC by NC ND 2.0

Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/05/24

If you feel that your child has a friend who is a "bad influence," take a look at this practical advice.

Friendships at any age are not always easy, but as you get older, they seem a little easier to navigate. It’s therefore normal that your children won’t always choose the right type of friend for them and may even come across peers that can have a truly detrimental effect on their lives.

While wanting to ward off a friendship you consider to be a bad influence on your child is understandable, this can often have the opposite effect and actually drive your offspring to pursue the friendship even further. Remember, kids don’t often like to be told what to do, even if it’s for their own good.

Therefore, if you’re having to navigate the seas of friendship with your children, here are some gentle tips to help you steer the ship:

Open the channels of communication

It’s important not to make definitive statements about a particular friend. Encourage open dialogue with your children. Create a space where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences. This will help you understand their friendships better.

Be curious, not judgmental

When your child talks about their friends, be genuinely interested. Ask questions about what they enjoy doing together and what makes the friendship special. This will allow you to have a grasp of the dynamics without passing immediate judgment.

Host friend gatherings

Offer to host get-togethers at your home. This way, you can observe your child’s friends in a familiar environment. Plus, it gives you a chance to get to know them better and potentially influence the atmosphere positively. Also, if on the off-chance the dubious friend is impolite or rude to you, your child may see them in a more negative light and the friendship might fizzle out naturally.

Lead by example

Demonstrate the values and behaviors you want your children to adopt. Your actions speak louder than words, and kids often emulate what they see at home. You can not only talk about your own friendships and what you value in your friends, you can also ask your children if they feel the same way about their friends.

Encourage healthy boundaries

Teach your children about the importance of setting boundaries. Help them recognize when a friend’s influence might be crossing into undesirable territory and guide them on asserting their own values.

Promote a positive peer environment

Encourage your child to engage in activities or groups that align with your family values. Positive peer influence can be a powerful force, so help your child find friends who share similar interests and values.

Instill critical thinking

Teach your children to think critically about the choices they make and the friends they keep, explaining the need to feel comfortable with decisions they make and that it is perfectly all right to say “no.” Highlight the importance of fostering their ability to make decisions based on their own values rather than succumbing to peer pressure.

Celebrate positive choices

Reinforce positive behavior by celebrating your child’s good choices and the positive influences they bring into their lives. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to make more of those choices.

Seek guidance from faith leaders

If you’re facing challenges rooted in your Catholic faith, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your local priest or other faith leaders. They can provide spiritual support and advice tailored to your specific situation.

Trust your parental instincts

Finally, you know your children best. Trust your instincts and remember that your love and guidance are invaluable in shaping their character.

Remember, parenting is a journey, and storms can be weathered with love, understanding, and a dash of humor. Your positive approach will guide your children toward making choices that align with your family values.

ChildrenFamilyFriendshipMental Health
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