Do You Dislike the Parents of Your Child's Friend?
Once your child is in school, it's difficult to control their friendships. Cheryl Butler tackles a sticky situation.
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When to Intervene
If, however, the reason you have a concern with your child’s friend’s parents is due to something more than “you just can’t stand how they dress,” or something of a more concerning or dangerous matter is involved, you need to go with your gut instinct and be open with your child as to why you feel this way.
For example, my son was getting very friendly with a new boy in his junior high school, and the father was a hunter. He was also a single parent and was not home until well after dinner each evening. We had heard from other neighbors that the guns he used for his hunting trips were not locked up. Two teenage boys and guns floating around the house did not make for a good outcome. When my husband and I asked the boy’s father about this situation, he didn’t deny it, and told us it was his business as to how he stored things in his house.
Let’s just say that was our signal that our son would never, ever be hanging out with that child in his house regardless of whether the father was home or not. We allowed the friend to come to our house, but that was it. Eventually, their friendship fizzled out, but in a situation such as this one, we were very honest with our son and although we never put his friend’s father down, we couldn’t jeopardize our boy’s safety.
Suppose your child starts up a friendship with a family that has completely different values than you. Perhaps your daughter has befriended a new student who admits that she hates going home after school because she feels uncomfortable with her mother’s new boyfriend. This is a situation in which you need to step in and either discourage the friendship altogether, or allow the friendship to continue only when the kids are under your supervision.
Remain Cordial for the Sake of Your Child
The bottom line is that parents know their own kids best, and if you feel the friendship that is developing with the child of someone you care not to be around is healthy for your child, then find a way to reach out and at least have an amicable line of communication so that everyone is on the same page. You don’t have to go out to dinner with these other parents or invite them over for coffee, you simply need to be respectful of one another and remember that your kids deserve to have a chance to develop their own friendships as long as a there’s no threat of physical or moral harm.