Sometimes your dislike of your tween or teen’s friends may be based on something small, such as an irritating habit. Other times, your dislike may be based on a major reason for concern. Perhaps you are worried that your child’s friend will influence him in ways you don’t like. You will be comforted to know, you’re not alone, it’s not unusual for parents not to like all their child’s friends.
Here are our tips on how best to handle the situation:
Understand that your child is the only one who can choose their friends. You can create opportunities for them to spend time with other children, but your child will be drawn to certain kids over others. It’s important that you allow and respect that.
If your child has a friend you don’t like, try to get to know that friend. Encourage your child to invite that friend over to the house so you can learn more about him and also monitor the friendship.
If possible, try to get to know the friend’s parents in some way.
Try to identify what about the friend bothers you. Does the friend bring out a certain aspect in your child that you don’t like? Does the friend have poor manners? Or do you just have a feeling that you can’t name just yet?
Ask your child what he or she likes about this friend, but be careful not to be too disapproving.
Try to focus on being a strong, positive influence on your child, especially if you suspect that your child is a negative influence.
Understand that friendships can shift dramatically during this period, and a friendship that is important now may not be in a short period of time.
Friendships can be intense at this age. It may seem that your child is always on the phone, texting others and wanting to spend time with friends. Keep an eye on friendships and make observations if you feel they are necessary.
It is vital that you don’t pry but instead try to create an atmosphere of openness for your tween.
Make sure that you keep your eyes open regarding bullying. As kids go through puberty and are more aware of their sexuality; children can become offensive towards one another.