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?
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:
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;
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.
the Parents Never Hurts
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?