Children learn a lot from childhood, as childhood is the stage that sets the path on whether an individual would be a ‘make or break’ in the future. As a parent, you portray examples, norms, and values that your child inevitably will copy too. Parents have a huge amount of influence on their child’s life but however, the same way a parent can influence their child is the same way a peer can too. Friendship nowadays is of extreme importance and need in every child’s life and at times, unfortunately, it might seem like a friend has more value than a parent.
The bonding in friendship has been so strong to the point that friends now find out information before parents do and tend to be easily forgiven too. Peer groups can have a positive and negative impact on your child’s life and this is why it is important for you to keep close tabs on your child. The strength of negative peer influence can affect your child’s personal standards of behavior, school performance, morals, and values too.
Many children and teenagers fall prey to negative influence for diverse reasons. It could be that they have not comfortably settled in their positive peer groups, aren’t prepared for challenges or for some reason find themselves attached to a peer that they admire.
How to Handle Your Child and Bad Influence
You may like to refer to the people that your child hangs out with as negative influences but remember that these are the people that your child trust and call friends. Most children are sensitive to how a parent passes judgment upon who they chose to hang out with. Below are a few tips on how you could help manage and stop your child from a bad influence.
1. Avoid criticism
When handling peer groups, try to avoid criticizing your child’s friends. Pointing out that the people they hang out with are bad won’t help solve issues. Don’t forget that children and teenagers are at that point in their life where they defend their friends. Criticizing your child’s friend would only be like criticizing an aspect of your child.
2. Set Limits
If your child’s friends engage in bad activities and you’re aware of this then you should try setting limits on how long and how much they meet those kids especially if their actions aren’t in line with your norms and values. Don’t be too strict with your child but at the same time, don’t be too lenient.
3. Talk to them about Mean Friends.
Some children actually hang out with kids that treat them badly. A lot of kids nowadays hang out with the people that oppress them in order to make them stop, or to feel cool. When a kid is regularly bullied in school, one option is to become a bully to avoid being beaten up. At this point, your role as a parent would be to give your child alternative ways to suppress the oppression such as reporting to the nearest person of authority. Talking to your child about mean friends could help expose possible reasons why he’s hanging out with them in the first place.