How Well do You Know Your Child’s Friends?

Getting to know your child’s friends will help you protect him from negative peer influences.

By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj

How Well do You Know Your Child’s Friends?

An old saying goes thus – ‘Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.’ It’s quite true. Our friends mirror our personality; in fact, they influence our attitudes, perceptions, behaviour and so on, to a great extent.

Judith Rich Harris, an American psychology researcher and textbook writer, wrote a book in 1998 titled, ‘The Nurture Assumption: Why children turn out the way they do’. In it she argues that when it comes to determining the behaviour of children, parents matter much less when compared to their children’s peer group. Based on her examination of the lives of real children she shows that it is what they experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most. She states that children who grow up in disciplined households are just as likely to turn into tearaways as those raised in chaotic homes, if they mix with unruly classmates at a young age.

In the light of such research, shouldn’t parents get to know their children’s friends?

Take this quiz to find out how well you know your child’s friends.

1. Do you know how many close friends your child has?

Yes /No

2. Do you know the names of all your child’s friends?

Yes /No

3. Do you know which friend your child spends a lot of time with?

Yes /No

4. Do you know where your child’s best friend lives?

Yes /No

5. Do you know who your child’s best friend’s parents are?

Yes /No

6. Do you know how your child and his best friend spend most of their time together?

Yes /No

7. Do you know about your child’s best friend’s hobbies and interests?

Yes /No

8. Do you know how many friends of the opposite sex your child has?

Yes /No

9. Do you know what type of friends your child prefers? For e.g. same personality type as your child or of the opposite personality type.

Yes /No

10. Do you know which friend your child will turn to in time of need?

Yes/No

11. Do you know with which friend your child spends time in fun activities?

Yes /No

12. Do you know with which friend your child spends time in combined study?

Yes /No

13. Do you know which friend’s house your child regularly visits?

Yes /No

14. Do you know with which friend your child spends a lot of time chatting on the phone?

Yes/No

15. Are you sure your child’s friends do not visit your home when you are not around?

Yes /No

Proceed with answering these questions if your child is aged between 13 and 18

16. Do you know where your child and his friends regularly meet?

Yes /No

17. Are you sure your child doesn’t have any friend who goes for parties or movies without elders accompanying him/her?

Yes /No

18. Are you sure your child doesn’t have any friend who smokes?

Yes /No

19. Are you sure your child doesn’t have any friend who drinks?

Yes /No

20. Are you sure your child doesn’t have any friend who abuses drugs?

Yes /No

Scores and Interpretation:

If you have answered mostly ‘Yes’, your knowledge of your child’s friends is good.

If you have answered mostly ‘No’, your knowledge of your child’s friends isn’t sufficient; you need to invest more time and effort in getting to know them.


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