IS THAT A GOOD FRIEND OR A BAD FRIEND?

Wor­ried about bad in­flu­ences that could lead your lit­tle one astray? Here’s how to steer her to­wards the right ones.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Wor­ried about bad inuences that could lead your lit­tle one astray? Here’s how to steer her to­wards the right ones.

Avoid crit­i­cis­ing her friends

When you say “I don’t want you to play with X”, your child sees it as a threat to her in­de­pen­dence and it alien­ates her.

“Crit­i­cis­ing her friends can drive her fur­ther into the arms of those peo­ple,” says Fauziah Shah, direc­tor at Pe­tra Coun­selling Cen­tre.

If your child is with some­one whom you know is a bad choice, some­times you have to sit back and let her re­alise that on her own.

Don’t be over­pro­tec­tive

When kids make mis­takes, they have to deal with the fall­out and nd out who they can and can­not trust.

“Over­pro­tec­tive­ness weak­ens a child’s ca­pac­ity to solve prob­lems. If a child knows Mum or Dad is in con­trol of what hap­pens in her life and her de­ci­sions, there’s no mo­ti­va­tion to make her own choices and be in­de­pen­dent,” says Fauziah.

“Learn­ing to deal with con­se­quences is vi­tal as she grows up.”

Talk about self-re­spect

If a child has self-re­spect, she un­der­stands her self-worth and loves her­self.

“She wouldn’t feel small if her ideas and in­cli­na­tions are dif­fer­ent from her peers. Most chil­dren are at­tracted to those who are condent and self-as­sured and will not bully them into toe­ing the line. This helps her gain re­spect among her friends,” says Fauziah.

Praise pos­i­tive friends

Make re­in­forc­ing com­ments about pals who have a good inuence, or when your child shows ini­tia­tive in a tricky peer sit­u­a­tion.

But don’t praise her yet – she will know that you’re up to some­thing. So in­stead of say­ing: “Janelle is the kind of girl I want you to be friends with”, you could say, “Janelle looks like a sen­si­ble girl”.

Share your mis­takes

Don’t be em­bar­rassed to talk about the mis­takes you’ve made in the past. Tell your kid sto­ries about friend­ships from your youth and share mo­ments where you faced chal­lenges or made a bad judg­ment call.

“Don’t wait for prob­lems to sur­face – good rap­port be­tween par­ent and child will go a long way,” says Fauziah.

Make friends with your child’s pals

Get to know the kids she likes to hang out with so you can build a bond with them, too.

“In­vite her friends over so they feel com­fort­able with you. If there’s a par­tic­u­lar friend you like, in­vite her to fam­ily out­ings and par­ties to strengthen the friend­ship with your child,” Fauziah sug­gests.

Show love with bound­aries

As your young one demon­strates that she can make sen­si­ble de­ci­sions and is not overly af­fected by friends, you can re­lax some bound­aries.

“With stronger-minded chil­dren, go soft, then softer, and keep ne­go­ti­at­ing,” says Fauziah.

“Let your child know that you love her and want her to have fun, but you also want her to have self-re­spect and be safe. It’s al­ways good to dis­cuss – as a fam­ily – cer­tain house rules and all mem­bers of the fam­ily, in­clud­ing par­ents, should stick by them. This way, trust is es­tab­lished and your child knows she can de­pend on you for guid­ance.”

Crit­i­cis­ing her friends can drive her fur­ther into the arms of those peo­ple.

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