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What to do when you're not so fond of your child's friend

Childhood friendships can be so sweet, but what if you find yourself in a situation when your child is associating themselves with a purported "bad apple".  How do you deal with this situation?  Paige recently emailed us for your advice.  She writes:

I'm excited summer's here but not so excited about the fact that this means that my son's new friend (and also one of our neighbors) will be a constant presence.  Up until now, I've been very fond of my son's friends and happy to have them running amok, but I am not so fond of this new friend. Just today the ideas that the new friend had including introducing him to using questionable language and ideas such as taking his money to buy ice cream.  These were ideas that I happened to be within earshot of hearing.  While I think these ideas in itself do not inflict himself harm, he's 6 years old and these are choices that I am not quite ready for him to make on his own.  I am also not so thrilled about the negative influence that this child has on my son.  Have you found yourself not so fond of your child's friend?  If you have, do you let it go, or do you set limits on those friendships? Also, how do you go about setting those limits on a friend who constantly invites himself over?


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I think that you can totally set the limits about what is ok/not ok at your house. Be really clear with this boy, and if he breaks it, end the playdate, explain that he needs to go home because of X, and then follow through. He will learn to follow your rules if he really wants to be at your house.
Talk with your son, too. Let him know at his level about your concerns. Give him some words that he can use with this boy when he feels like things are not appropriate.

I totally understand!

I had issues galore with a friend who treated my child very poorly (yelling, hitting, etc.) and who was been very passive aggressive in our house..."woops! I just 'dropped' it!" kind of thing.

Luckily, my child has slowly evolved out of the friendship. Hopefully the same will happen for you. It was ultimately good, I believe, that the friendship didn't end because I forced it to. I only advised my child on how I believed friends should treat friends and what expectations should be....

It is a lot easier when they are young kids, The solution is easy since we parents can stop the friendship by busying them with other activities. Once they are older it is harder to keep them away from friends we do not approve of.

I agree completely with mamame. Be super-clear about what's ok at your house. Call him on the language; explain that those are words we don't say here. Yep, if he wants to be over so much, he will follow your rules.

However, when it comes to a kid who invites himself over constantly, you need to have a frank talk with the parent. It's not fair for you to have to deal with him all the time, especially if you're not particularly fond of him. You might want to tell his parent that these days/times are good for you and that you're busy otherwise.

I have a situation a bit like this, except the kid in question is not a near neighbor, thank goodness, and my child is younger.
It is difficult and I waver on whether I should try to cut the relationship off, but for now I am focusing on helping my child use his own brain.

As a parent let your child know what is and is not exceptible in your house apply those same standards to visitors, If his/her friend can not behave then tell him/her he is going to need to go home. As for unannounced visits, now is a good time to set the standard of you need to call before you come over and have him or his parent call first, this also makes it easier in keeep them apart if you so choose to.

for unexpected visits.. why not just say - "my son cannot play right now" or "we are having family time" or "a family day". I even had a friend when i was growing up who wouldput a asign on their front door for homework time/nap time/etc.

yeah, put the kibosh on that. it's hard, but with your kid being only six, you still decide. it might be easier if you have other choices, like we can't play with X but we can do this, and it's also a good way to talk about how we choose friends. friends are people we love but also who love us back, show us respect and honor us and the people we love. friends help us aim for higher ground, challenge us to be better. sounds like this kid's not doing that.

i think one of the reasons this is hard is that sometimes as adults we stay friends with people we disapprove of for fear of confrontation. since it's an unresolved issue for some of us, we're still not sure how to help our kids. end it.

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