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How often do parents and grandparents worry that a child will not get into bad company or make a bad friend! But what is behind this abstract concept of “bad”? Situations are completely different, and before stopping such communication, you should carefully understand everything.

Who are the “bad friends”?

What parent does not dream of seeing a smart, erudite, well-mannered friend with their child? Without exception, mothers and fathers are worried when children make friends with not at all those with whom they expect. Of course, no one wants a child to start smoking, run away from home, or spend time in “basements”, doing something incomprehensible. It also happens that a new friend of a son or daughter has a different culture, family values, faith, material wealth. Moms and dads can be annoyed by the speech, appearance or mannerisms of a newly-made comrade. He is different, and thus causes real rejection. Such a friend also becomes “bad”, even if he never held a cigarette in his hands. And then teachers can start adding fuel to the fire. “Your Petya began to study worse as soon as he became friends with Misha” and “It was Anya who got it from Masha.” A new friend of a child becomes “bad” not only when he directly sets the child against his parents or offers to try alcohol. But even when the child simply looks at him with a breath, as if under the spell of someone else’s charm, and no longer listens to anyone. It turns out that a bad friend, because it undermines parental authority! Of course, for some moms and dads it’s hard to get along with this: “We invested so much effort in you, brought up, taught … And you!”

Tell me who is your friend

The first thing parents need to do when they find out about the presence of a “bad” friend is to exhale and calm down. Think about the fact that anything can connect a child and his new friend. What if this “bad” friend protected the son or daughter from attacks or helped them in some way? Appearances are sometimes deceiving. But what if the “hooligan” and “debaucher” actually turns out to be a savvy, well-read person with a whole range of bright personal qualities? Children often see things that adults do not see. Sometimes they are able to see a diamond even in the most unsightly cobblestone. Good grades, a medal in rhythmic gymnastics, and a professor grandfather do not automatically make a child a great friend. And sometimes a “bad” friend is a person who allows a child to show their rebellious spirit, especially in adolescence. “To spite my parents, I will make friends with the most notorious scoundrel of the school!”

General advice for parents

1. You can’t forbid children to be friends, as well as cut off contacts with a friend and punish (turn off the Internet, pick up the phone, lock the child at home). Prohibitions often act as “leashes” from which children break sooner or later. The result is a complete lack of trust in moms and dads. 2. Become more tolerant of your child’s friends and show respect for his choice. You don’t have to love your child’s “bad” friends, but you shouldn’t label them either. Also, you should not call them names in front of a child: this can provoke a serious conflict. Show a minimum of respect for people who have not yet had time to get to know as closely as your child. 3. Instead of criticizing the company or individual friends of your child, try to understand them. For what reason did the child become friends with him or her? Why is this friendship so important to him? Why don’t you like this relationship? 4. Talk to your child more often. Ask him leading questions to better understand. For example: “What do you especially like about Vasya?” It turns out that in most cases, children perfectly see that a new friend smokes or shoplifts and subsequently break off such relationships themselves. Of course, such a friendship may not end instantly, but it will come to an end if the child is given a choice. 5. Try to invite a new friend to visit, call to the cinema or out of town. Perhaps he is not as bad as teachers, neighbors or other parents describe him? So you can better understand what connects them with your child. 6. Show your child your support. Show that you respect his choice, even if it may be negative. In this case, the child will understand: he does not need to prove something to mom and dad, to be stubborn, to show his “adulthood”. And, probably, unwanted friends will eventually “fall away” by themselves. If something “out of the ordinary” happens, the child will be the first to come to you for advice and support. In this case, of course, it is important not to say “You see, we told you!” “Bad” friends are not only enemies, but also teachers. They are often necessary for the child to go through a certain (albeit negative) social experience and draw conclusions. Let your child choose their own friends. Remember that prohibitions and condemnation of friends do not help. Confidential communication helps.
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