What to do if you don’t like your kid’s pal

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Sunday, March 7, 2010 6:44pm
  • Life

You don’t like your tween’s new friend. Should you step in?

“You can’t control your kid’s choice of friends,” said Betsy Brown Braun, parent educator and author of “You’re Not the Boss of Me,” coming out soon.

“The more you forbid, the more appealing the friend becomes — kind of like television and sugar.”

Which doesn’t mean you should remove yourself from the equation. Just enter it wisely.

“The first thing to remember is, friendships fluctuate. This is not forever,” Braun said. “Second is to ask yourself, ‘What’s going on with this friendship? What is this about?’ Maybe your child is saying, ‘I want more freedom. I need a little more independence.’

“It could be that friend has personality traits that are appealing because your child wishes he could be more that way. Or, sometimes you want to be friends with the thing you most fear — better it should hug you than bite you.”

Ask yourself what being friends with this person means to your child,

Next, give your child some time to see how the friendship affects his life.

“Experiencing a range of friendships is the way kids figure out who they like and what they like, what’s a good idea and what’s not such a good idea, what happens to me when I’m friends with this type of guy,” Braun said.

“A lot of growth happens as kids go in and out of friendships. They learn all kinds of stuff about their own behavior, about other people’s points of view, about guilt by association. As a parent, you don’t want to take away from your child’s ability to make those observations.”

But what if you still need to step in?

“Express your concerns respectfully,” Braun said. “’I’ve seen that Seymour takes a lot of risks’ or ‘Seymour speaks to people disrespectfully. In our family that’s not OK.’”

Talk to us

More in Life

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

Barb Denton smiles and laughs with her Jeep Cherokee Laredo that she has driven for 32 years on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Red Dragon,’ stolen from Sea-Tac, mysteriously returns home to Everett

Barb Denton’s rig of 348,000 miles was found three miles from home, intact, with a half-tank of gas and an empty bag of Oberto sticks.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.