I'm sure most moms have experienced this at one time or another with at least one of their children – the disapproval of one or more of their child's friends.
Every mom wants the best influence for her child and dreads the potential bad habits a kid can pick up. So, is it possible to direct your child to and from specific friends? Watching kids play, you can see the natural connections they develop with certain children. I truly wonder if these “connections” can be re-directed by parents. What may be even more difficult is creating chemistry between your child and another child that you feel would be a good friend.
I recall one mom telling me that she tried to promote a friendship with her son that she thought would be fruitful. She scheduled play dates, she would talk highly of the other child to her son, etc. No matter how hard she tried, he had no interest. She was disappointed because she really thought the other child was very nice, polite, and a caring person. But she soon realized, you can’t pick your child’s friends.
My sister’s teenage daughter has a friend that shows friend-like qualities only half of the time. Other times, she is competitive and insecure, and even tries to turn others against my niece. This friend would frequently exclude my niece, tease/name call, and overall disrespect her. For years my sister has tried to tell her daughter this person is not a friend. But, her daughter was reluctant to move on and continued the friendship. As a parent, she hated to see her daughter get mistreated by someone, but my sister never attempted to force an end to the relationship. Instead, she listened and gave suggestions on how to better handle situations that would arise. Recently my niece decided on her own to move on to other friendships.
Maybe fighting and disagreements among friends make us stronger and help us grow. Maybe it shows us that life is no bed of roses and we should expect others to, at one point or another, not be so kind. And, maybe it teaches us self confidence as we learn from each experience, and stand up for ourselves. On the other hand, without some adult support and guidance a "toxic" friendship could result in a child going down the wrong path. But as a parent, I guess the biggest lesson might be that we need to exercise caution with our interfering strategies, because they just might backfire. Being there for our children when there are betrayals and disappointments seems to be most helpful, and strengthens the parent-child relationship.
About the author:
Lisa LaGrou is the founder of OaklandCountyMoms.com. She and her team work to present quality content to their readers. Lisa likes to provide information and options for families about a myriad of topics without preaching or condoning. If she experiences something, she want to share it. If she doesn't know about something, she tries to find information to share. She's delighted when people contact her with suggestions about content and resources. For more information on how to become a member of Oakland County Moms click HERE.