Whether you are a hands-on mother or one who gives your child a fair amount of space, you undoubtedly still care about them.
As part of that caring, you want to make sure that they pal around with the right kind of kids, especially as they get into their teen years. One of the reasons for this is that they will more than likely be driving and/or riding as passengers in vehicle later in their high school years. With that in mind, their well-being goes to an even higher level.
So, how involved are you when it comes to taking a role (or commenting on etc.) in those your children choose as friends?
Remember, if you become too involved in the matter, your child could end up revolting against you, potentially driving a significant wedge between the two of you. On the flip side, not being involved enough can lead to an extremely carefree attitude by your child, one that could end up coming back to haunt them and you.
With that in mind, how much time and effort this year and down the road will you put into knowing who your child is hanging out with?
Walking That Fine Line
So that you do not end up driving a wedge between you and your child (yet still show them you care), keep these three tips in mind when it comes to your kid/s and their friends:
1. Background checks – It may seem a little severe to some parents (kids for that matter too), but would you consider doing a background check on any potential friends of your child, especially those individuals not very forthcoming? You can actually do such checks without your child ever knowing, so don’t worry about them possibly finding out (unless of course you tell them). One of the reasons for doing such a check would be if your child plans on spending a significant amount of time with one or more friends in their vehicles. Knowing that the individual or individuals taking turns behind the wheel are safe drivers should always be a concern to you. If you find out during a background check or checks that one or more teens your child spends time with in a vehicle have driving issues (citations for speeding etc.), let your child know. Sure, they may question you as to how you would know such a thing, but their safety takes precedence over any possible verbal conflicts you might have with them;
2. Social media – It seems like just about every teen (and kids even younger) these days is on one or more social sites. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the list could go on and on. That said you can also learn some things about your child’s friends who have social profiles. For instance, seeing a post from one of your child’s friends on how they enjoy speeding behind the wheel etc. should be cause for alarm. That teen may also hang with the “wrong” crowd in terms of not being inclusive of other races and/or religions. Knowing this information may give you reason to sit down with your child and ask them if they really want to continue such a friendship or friendships. Without coming across as a spy within your household, knowing which social sites your child visits regularly is also important, especially given the dangers of online predators etc.
Meeting the Parents Never Hurts
3. Parental meetings – Lastly, long before there even was an Internet, many parents simply would meet up at local Little League games and/or high school events etc. That would give them a chance to get to know the parents of those their children liked to hang out with. While that still of course happens today, many parents are so busy in their own worlds (including the Internet), that such personal gatherings are not as much the norm. If your child comes home and says they have a new friend, ask them about meeting that child’s parents or parent over a bite to eat at a local eatery or simply coffee. Doing so will hopefully put you a little more at ease with those they choose as friends, although some cases will definitely not make you as easy as can be. You do not have to become best friends with other parents, but at least being on a first name basis with them certainly does not hurt.
As a parent, what are you doing to get to know your child’s friends and their parents?