God gives us our relatives, thank God we can choose our friends. ~ Ethel Watts Mumford
Friendships have a powerful impact in your life, health, and well-being. Having the right friends can cause you immense joy, while having the wrong kind of friends can cause you aggravation.
The Mayo Clinic shares some of the benefits that comes with a good friendship. Here are my favorites.
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose.
- Boost happiness and reduces stress
- Encourages you to avoid unhealthy lifestyle behaviors
- Improves self-confidence and self-worth1
That is the power of a good friendship, and that is a great reason to know your child’s friends.
Importance of Knowing Your Child’s Friends
You can’t be around your child 24/7. But you can help your child be around other children, who are a positive influence, when they are away from your home, especially if your children are more susceptible. But even if they are susceptible, knowing the children they call friends is important.
When you know their friends, you can make confident decisions about hang-out times, sleepovers, parties, etc.. If their friends are bad influences, do you want them to stay overnight at their house? How would you know if you don’t know their friends?
Maybe you don’t know your child’s friends, where do I start?
First thing you can do is to stand back and watch your child. Sometimes we are too busy in our life, to take moments to watch but it is important to see and listen to your child interact with their peers. Take them to a safe activity, where they can interact with each other comfortably and then watch and listen to their interactions. Some key factors
How are they treating my child?
What kind of language are they using?
How does your child treat them?
Another thing is to ask a friend about some of their favorite activities. You will be surprised how honest children can be about their home life. One of son’s friends (1st grader) asked me if I played the new Grand Theft Auto game. I said I hadn’t played the game, and then he went on to tell me about the game. Now if his parent is willing to let their young child play a very adult game, what other things are allowed in their household?
If you find your child’s friends are not the right influence of your child, you can find ways to limit interactions away from the safety of your home and find ways where you can be a positive influence in their friends lives. I know for me, and I had great 2nd dads and moms outside my home that helped and shaped me more spiritually today. And you can be that same influence in their friend’s lives.