As parents we want to protect our kids at all cost. We also want to raise them to be kind, decent human beings who will be as productive as they'll be compassionate. But that's much easier said than done, especially when our children start making friends. So, how do you know if your kid's friend is a bad influence, or if your child's unruly behavior is just a phase?
Fortunately, there are a few red flags you can look out for that will let you know your kid's friend isn't the best influence. Child behavior expert and author James Lehman, MSW, recommends paying close attention to your kid's behavior, and noting any changes that occur after they make a new friend. Another clue is how your kid's friend acts when they visit or interact with you. As child psychologist Matthew Goldfine, PhD told HuffPost, if your kid's friend constantly breaks the rules, talks back, or behaves badly at your home, their behavior might rub off on your kid. As sociologist Robert Faris, Ph.D. told Good Housekeeping, bad influences don’t always look like bullies, either. Sometimes they are the kids with the most friends, or the ones who want to be the most popular kid in school and, as a result, are willing to do anything to reach that goal.
All kids go through difficult phases. The trouble with having risk-taking friends, however, is that kids tend to get into more trouble with each other then they would on their own. As our kids venture out into the world and make new friends, here's how you can know if their friends are bad influences or positive role models: