The school holidays may feel like a well-deserved time to hang out with their friends, but what happens when these buddies’ influences take precedence over yours? Don’t worry, it’s not always a bad thing. We’ll teach you three ways to help your kids manage their friends, and make better choices:
Be slow to lecture
When your child tells you about his friends and what they do, abstain from coming down hard even if it unnerves you. If not, your child won’t want to bring up such matters again. Instead, foster a communication channel where your child feels safe to confide in you about his friends and problems without feeling judged. By not making him feel small, you retain his trust and a channel that could help you understand his influences better. Which might also allow you to gently nudge him in better directions when the moment calls for it.
Offer an alternative
You want to tell your child something is wrong and that he shouldn’t participate in it. Why not show him a better alternative: something he could enjoy in place of that activity that his friends are caught up with. By presenting your child with another option, you’re inviting him to consider what might he otherwise enjoy doing.
Try not to say “no”
Children have never been great listeners, but they are great imitators. When you verbalise clear boundaries to them with words like, “No, that’s not okay with me”, you’re providing them a language that they can use to confront sticky situations they’ll need to say “no” to, and he’ll be saying it back to you.
This article is written by Geraldine Lee from yodaa for the Singapore’s Child.