7 ways to help your child choose good friends

By Lynn Wee   — January 17, 2017
  • 1. Don’t criticise her friends
    1 / 7 1. Don’t criticise her friends

    When you say “I don’t want you to play with X”, your child sees it as a threat to their independence and it alienates them.

    “Criticising her friends can drive her further into the arms of those people,” says Fauziah Shah, director at Petra Counselling Centre.

    If your child is with someone you know is a bad choice, sometimes you have to sit back and let your child realise that on their own.

    (Click on arrows in photos to find out more) 

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  • 2. Don’t be over-protective
    2 / 7 2. Don’t be over-protective

    When kids make mistakes, they have to deal with the fallout and find out who they can and cannot trust.

    “Over-protectiveness weakens a child’s capacity to solve problems.

    If a child knows Mum or Dad is in control of what happens in their life and their decisions, there’s no motivation to make their own choices and be independent,” says Fauziah.

    “Learning to deal with consequences is vital as they grow up.”

    Related: How to stop overprotecting your child

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  • 3. Talk about self-respect
    3 / 7 3. Talk about self-respect

    If a child has self-respect, he understands his self-worth and love himself. “He wouldn’t feel small if his ideas and inclinations are different from his peers.

    Most children are attracted to those who are confident and self-assured and will not bully them into toeing the line.

    This helps him gain respect among his friends,” says Fauziah.

    Related: Teach your child to value herself 

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  • 4. Praise positive friends
    4 / 7 4. Praise positive friends

    Make reinforcing comments about friends who have a positive influence, or when your child shows initiative in a tricky peer situation.

    But don’t praise him yet – he will show know that you’re up to something.

    So instead of saying, “Janelle is the kind of girl I want you to be friends with,” you could say, “Janelle looks like a sensible girl”.

    Related: Is your child making friends?

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  • 5. Share your mistakes
    5 / 7 5. Share your mistakes

    Don’t be embarrassed to share about the mistakes you’ve made in the past.

    Tell them stories about friendships from your youth and especially share moments where you faced challenges or made bad judgment.

    “Don’t wait for problems to surface – a good rapport between parent and child will go a long way,” says Fauziah.

    Related: 6 signs that your child isn’t settling into school well

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  • 6. Know your child’s friends
    6 / 7 6. Know your child’s friends

    Know who she likes to hang out with so you build good intelligent networks.

    “Invite her friends over so they feel comfortable with you. If there’s a particular friend you like, invite her to family outings and festive parties to strengthen the friendship with your child,” suggests Fauziah.

    Related: Why is my child shy even with friends

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  • 7. Show her love and boundaries
    7 / 7 7. Show her love and boundaries

    As your child show that she can make safe and sensible decisions and is not overly affected by their friends, you can relax some boundaries.

    “With stronger minded children, go soft, then softer, and keep negotiating,” says Fauziah.

    “Let your child know that you love them and want them to have fun, but you also want them to have self-respect and be safe. It’s always good to discuss as a family certain house rules and all members of the family, including parents, should stick by them.

    “This way trust is established and your child knows she can depend on you for guidance.”

    Related: 3 steps to teach your child how to make decisions

    This story first appeared in The Singapore Women’s Weekly 

    (Pictures: 123RF.com)

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