When you don't like your child's friends

Not too fond of your kid's friends? Our expert provides suggestions for how to handle the peers in your child’s life whom you aren't keen on.

What you should do if you don't like your child's friends
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3. Subtly manage the situation
While totally cutting your child off from a particular friend isn't the answer, you can limit your child's exposure to that friend. As children get older, they find more opportunities to spend time outside of the home and therefore can find more ways to get into trouble.

"I would limit that time away, but do it in a very subtle way. Whether you are giving them chores or whether you suggest after-school clubs, be in tune with what's going on," advises Mantas. "Create opportunities where you can limit them depending on what also meets your needs."

4. Pick your battles when confronting other parents
It may be tempting to bring up a child's offensive behaviour to his or her parents, but that can be tricky. Whether the child in question is a destructive toddler on a playdate or a potty-mouthed teenager, pointing out flaws in other people's kids is dangerous territory.

"When confronting another set of parents, I would only do it if there's a breach -- for example, if the kids were colluding to steal or teaming up to smoke, or if there was a repeated aggressive incident," says Mantas.

With the exception of these kinds of outright negative behaviours, she suggests that parents try to keep in mind that everyone has different ideas about parenting and that you should avoid getting into arguments over the "right" and "wrong" ways of raising children.

5. Keep open communication with your kids
When discussing with your kids why you don't agree with their friends' behaviours, the conversation should be a two-way street. "We need to provide children a forum in which to express themselves," says Mantas. "Even if they are angry, give them that opportunity to have that conversation."

The more you can openly communicate with your children, the better you'll understand why they enjoy spending time with particular friends and what they get out of those relationships.

Though you may not be crazy about all of your kids' friends, it is important for you to know when to step back. "It can be a very delicate situation and it's important not to be drastic one way or the other," says Mantas. Your child will learn from this friendship and you can take it as an opportunity to learn, too.

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