Know Your Children's Friends12:12 AM
Our children's friends will at some point have more influence over them than us parents. Parents generally have more control when children are at home but once they are outside, we can only hope that they are being pulled by good influence. This is the reason why knowing our children's friends would be best for the parents' sanity and the children's stability.
You Are Who Your Friends Are
So goes the popular saying about judging what kind of friends a person may have. There is actually some truth into this since people tend to be influenced to a large degree by their friends especially during the formative stage where some values have not been fully established. Humans are naturally attracted to form friendships and alliances with like-minded people.
People who spend considerable time together as friends do tend to develop the same mindset, behavior, and activities. This is the reason why many claim that a person can be judged according to how friends behave. It really wouldn't be such a concern if "bad influence" is not a cause of concern.
Good Influence, Bad Influence
Friends can either be good or bad influence especially on children. Even adults who are expected to have developed solid-rock values can be swayed by friends to go the other way if they are not strong enough. Children who are more susceptible to peer pressure face the risk of being influenced the wrong way.
In societal standard, the good influencers are those who do not go against the accepted norms while the bad influencers do the exact opposite. Parents understandably do not want these bad influencers anywhere near their children but sometimes there is something more that meets the eye in making judgments. Branding someone as a good or bad influence carries a responsibility in relation to the future of the one being branded.
Why and How Parents Get to Know Children's Friends
One of the most positive things any parent can do for a child is to exert effort to get to know his or her friends. Getting to know and being nosy of personal affairs are two different things. The emphasis should be in forming positive relationships between parents, children and their friends based on respect and trust. Knowing a child's friend goes beyond the name because it usually extends to knowing the friend's family. This is usually achieved by attending events or activities that require the presence of parents and the family.
It would be much better if parents can create an inviting home that encourages friends to visit and stay for activities instead of constantly spending time outside the home where activities of the children can hardly be monitored. Parents need to remember that their children need to be given space in the development of their friendships. What is important is that children know that their parents care for them enough to get to know their friends more.
I will not be a hypocrite and say that I do not fear that my children will encounter people who will not lead them to the right path especially during the stage where children will tend to listen more to their friends than their parents. That is why I consider it my first line of defense to know my children's friends. My style of knowing is not disruptive nor nosy as I try to speak with them as if we were just exchanging stories. I tend to observe more rather than talk and then speak to my child if I think there are serious concerns that have to be addressed with their friends.
That said, I leave it to them to choose their friends but my eyes and ears remain open for danger signs before I open my mouth to intervene. Knowing our children's friends is one of the positive approaches to parenting.