Concern about friends: older students

Question: My son is hanging around with kids who are not polite and they seem to have different goals than my child. I worry about him getting into trouble with some of them. What should I do?


Secondary A: This is a difficult question because so many factors are involved.  First, it is important to know your son’s friends. Sometimes, first impressions and appearances are not always accurate. Spending time with your child’s friends can turn the “I think” to “I know.”

After spending time with them and you are sure your child’s friends would be a bad influence, simply banning your son from seeing them could backfire. The more you tell your child not to see a friend, the more defiant he may become. A better option is to monitor his actions. You will not be able to control who he spends time with during the school day, but you can limit contact at other times. Know where your son is at all times and be sure that he is safe. Consider not allowing your child to go out at night or having an earlier curfew when the kids who cause you concern will be involved. If he is going to a party, call ahead and make sure it will be monitored by adults, and communicate your values and expectations to the parents of your son’s friends.

Holding your son accountable for his actions will help deter him from getting involved in inappropriate activities. Research shows that the most important reason children do not drink is because of their parents’ response to it.