Every child should have a friend or two. Friends form an integral part of a child’s growing up years. They learn to share belongings, interests, and even food through interacting with friends. It is always good to understand and know who your child befriends. While they are still small, the innocence of those years and the chance of freak accidents prompt parents to know their child’s friends and mix with them. During the teenage years, the social lives of children start to blossom and often become the most important part of their lives. Children at this age need acceptance and they want to ‘belong’ to groups and trends. Peer pressure to “fit in” is very strong, and could very often overcome parental persuasion and advice.
This stage, when they want to ‘belong’ could become a dangerous phase of their lives, because they could get influenced very easily and take part in activities that could even be immoral just to be in the group, or be a part of a current trend! In order to pre-empt potential disasters, social and psychological, it is necessary for parents to make the time to meet and know their teenager’s friends, as well as their activities. Meeting the parents of these friends would also help to keep many questionable activities and pursuits under check and control. Naturally, most teenagers would prefer to hang around with their friends than stay at home, underling the need for the parents of teenagers to meet and know each other as well.
Maintain a rapport and level of trust and understanding so that your children feel they can discuss any matters that trouble them.
Do fun family activities together. If necessary let their friends also join in from time to time.
Here are a few tips for parents that would help them understand who their children are mixing with and what values are they adding to your children’s lives.
– Talk to your child’s friends often or have casual conversations when you meet them.
– Interact and meet them at school events or neighbourhood events.
– Display a genuine interest in their activities
– Call your child’s friends home so that you too can be a part of their activities without being too nosey.
– Be informed about the friends and their parents, but avoid being overbearing and interfering.
– Keep steady communication with your child once he goes out with friends.
– Be friendly with your children so that they do not hesitate to get in touch with you during any emergency.