As your child grows up and his circle of friends expands, chances are that you may not like one or more of his buddies. So, what would you do when you don’t like your child’s friends?
By Amrita Gracias
One of the most significant attributes of adolescence is the urge to make friends and maintain friendships. As preteens and teens begin to discover their identities and assert their independence, friends become an important part of their lives.
Healthy friendships provide emotional support, and help in the development of good character, confidence and social skills. Friends give a sense of belonging and security, especially during adolescence when children are dealing with various emotional and physical issues. Friends also strongly influence the choices and decisions that a child makes.
According to Dr Ravi Samuel, a Chennai-based psychotherapist, “Friends should enhance learning capabilities, facilitate personality development, and enjoy through active entertainment. More importantly, they should encourage corrections in thoughts and emotions, especially when they are inappropriate.”
Therefore, it is extremely important that you get to know your child’s friends. “Parents certainly need to know 'in-depth' about their child's friends,” says Dr Ravi. “Just wishing them and enquiring about them may not be enough. Parents should spend time with their child’s friends to learn about things like their habits, views about the world, and how they interact with their parents,” he adds.
Knowing about your child’s friends can help you understand their personality, the relationship your child shares with his friends, and the kind of influence friends exert on your child. Dr Ravi explains, “As preteenage and teenage are the formative stages of a child's life, bad company can ruin the child's future.”
Your knowledge of your child’s friends will also help you wean him away from friends who cast an undesirable influence on him. A few instances that should make you intervene are, when a friend:
While it is easy to make up your mind to keep your child away from one of her friends you don’t like, it isn’t easy to talk to your child and convince her. So, before you intervene, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
If at any point you feel that your child is in danger or might land in serious trouble because of his friend, don’t hesitate to step in. Make your child understand that his safety is of the utmost importance and it is advisable to steer away from toxic friends. Do seek help from counsellors or psychologists if your teen is seriously troubled by any of his friends, and you’re unable to help.
Dr Ravi Samuel is one of Chennai's eminent psychotherapists who offers mental health therapy through his URClinic.
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