One of the best ways that you can positively influence your child’s friendships is to stay involved. Mighty Mommy has 5 tips on how parents can get to know their child’s friends as the teen years begin to unfold.
As children move into middle school and high school years, they begin to have many new influences in their lives. Their once innocent outlook is questioned as well as their sense of style and who they befriend. Don't be surprised to see major shifts in the movies they watch and the music they listen to.
As your adolescents develop their new identity, they may challenge the way things have always been done in your household and may not seek your advice as much. You'll find them hiding out in their bedrooms, spending endless hours texting and on social media, and start hanging out with friends—new friends—who you’ve never heard of or met before..
One of the best ways that you can continue to influence your child’s life is to stay involved. By getting to know your child’s friends, you can gain some insight into the relationships that your child is involved in—and keep an eye on those relationships to make sure that they stay positive.
Mighty Mommy has 5 tips on how parents can get to know their child’s friends as the teen years begin to unfold:
Tip #1: Welcome Your Child's Friends Into Your Home
Encourage your child to invite their friends over whenever you’re at home so that you have a chance to get to know them. Engage their friends by being welcoming, calling them by their first names, asking them questions about what their sports interests and hobbies are, finding out what part of town they live in with their family.
You don’t have to conduct a formal interview to start forming a relationship with your child’s friends, but by being receptive to them and initiating friendly conversation, you’ll start building a positive foundation for your own kids to feel comfortable coming home with their friends. Don’t be quick to judge some of your teen’s community of friends either. Dark eyeliner or a nose piercing does not immediately signify a bad kid. This age group can be very shy and often socially inept, so encourage as many positive encounters as possible so all parties will feel comfortable and soon you’ll start to see their true personalities emerge.
Tip #2: Become an Observer
If they’re headed to the movies and need a lift, I’m only to happy to offer because it gives me valuable insight into their world.
The avenue Mighty Mommy often takes when it comes to getting to know my kids' friends is to volunteer to drive them to their afterschool or weekend destinations. If they’re headed to the movies and need a lift, I’m only to happy to offer because it gives me valuable insight into their world. I engage in the pleasantries when I meet them for the first time, but I like to sit back and just soak in their conversations without intruding.
This has afforded me the opportunity to observe their friend’s tones of voice, choice of language, and even pick up on how they feel about school or certain teachers. Once I’m back at home with my child, I can now do a little “follow-up” on a 1:1 basis. For example, “Your friend Dave sounds like he’s really not a big fan of the school or Mr. Jenning’s Algebra class. What do you think is going on there?” It doesn’t result in an exchange of what’s “really” going on every time, but it has opened the dialogue between my kids and myself on many occasions that otherwise might not have happened.