Picking your kids friends

friendsThis is a very touchy subject.  It was the Good Question the other night and it put me right back into parenthood. There are just some things you never seem to forget.  It’s funny, I can’t remember what I went into a room for or where I set down my cherry pepsi but I can remember things like this.

What if you just couldn’t stand one of your kids friends?

I agree with Dr. David Walsh, a nationally known parenting expert and the author of “No: Why Kids of All Ages Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.”  He says that forbidding friends can backfire.  He also says, “Once we start to put kids on the do-not-call list, for teenagers in particular, that can even make them more attractive,” he explained. 

I really do believe that.  The minute you tell a kid not to do something, it makes them want to do it all the more.  It’s the same the other way around also, you tell them to do something and they don’t.

Jason really only had one friend, and I use the term “friend” very lightly, that neither Paul or I could stand.  He was the Eddie Haskel kind of kid.  Very polite and talky, very slick and polished.  So much so that any adult would see that.  I worked at the school and Paul coached him in baseball and basketball so we did know him well. He wasn’t a “bad” kid, just very sneaky.  I’d love to know where he ended up.  But one day money came up missing after he was over and it upset us all A LOT!  We all knew who did it, we didn’t steal from each other so we “knew.”   We just told Jason that he could still be friends with him but he wasn’t to come inside our home. Kickball, a game of horse in the driveway was fine.  He could go to his house but come on, he stole from us.  Jason knew stealing was wrong and understood.

But Dr. Walsh also stated that if something looks “dangerous” for your child or you “know” stuff is going on, you may have to step in. We did have to do this with Toby and I hated to do it because Toby didn’t “see it.”  He got “chummy” with someone who I would bet right now is in jail.  That is if he’s still alive.  My poor kids just didn’t stand a chance of getting anything get by us though.  I worked in the school and Paul was involved in every sport.  He coached them through their lives.  One day Toby was walking to school with “so and so” and a teacher I knew was driving by and “so and so” was smoking so she told me.  I went through Toby’s room with a fine tooth comb that afternoon praying to God that I wouldn’t find ANYTHING bad and I didn’t.  But I did have to tell him his days with “so and so” were over and done.  Finite!

He tried getting on the bus and getting off at “so and so’s” house ONCE but little did he know I was watching him.  I got in my car and drove by them and said “hey guys, want a ride?”  Neither of them said a word and it didn’t happen again.  You may think I was a buttinsky and you’d be right.  I was. Toby really had no choice since there was my bright shiny face at school and dad’s bright shiny face at baseball.  I felt (and knew) this kid was a bad influence and I felt I had no other choice.  He was years and years to young to be even thinking of smoking and heaven knows what else.  He didn’t hate us or anything and really never created a ruckus over it.  I also was very careful what “fights to pick” with the boys so they pretty  much knew if I did say no, I meant it and there were really no questions asked.

Have you ever had to do this?  If your kids are to young, do you think you would do something like this?

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11 Responses to Picking your kids friends

  1. SKL says:

    If necessary to protect my child, I’d forbid a “friend,” but I hope it never comes to that.

    When I was a kid, my mom almost never allowed us to have friends in the house, but I don’t recall her ever banning us from any particular kid. She did engage me in conversation about some of my more “colorful” friends and you could tell she didn’t approve, but she didn’t outright ban anyone in my recollection. It was good that she talked to me, even about things I didn’t want to hear. I had a friend who was a lot of trouble and I did get slightly tainted by it (“guilt by association”), but I always knew how to draw the line between tolerating her behavior and letting her affect mine. If my mom hadn’t talked to me about it fairly often, I might not have had the wisdom/strength to stay on the right side of that line. On the other hand, I felt that my befriending this girl was doing her a lot of good, so I’m glad my mom didn’t try to stop that.

  2. JavaQueen says:

    We talk about this stuff because I have 3 teenagers. There was one boy on our street that was just plain old “bad news”- I just told my son to “be nice” to the kid, but NEVER play with him. It worked. The kid got tired of asking my son to play and the answer was always, “I can’t, my mom said we are leaving soon…” or whatever excuse he gave and the kid finally got bored and moved on. I’m so glad I did that. This kid was cursing, smoking, playing golf on top of his house *yes, you read that right*, just a pain in the ass. You are a good mama. Ya gotta look out for your kids. I do think they hit an age when they are going to do what they want regardless of what I say and forbidding them will indeed make them want to rebel against what I say- but when they are little- that’s your job, to protect. Awesome post!

  3. pammy says:

    Joy you said it all for me in your post.I like the way you handled situations,as that is also how i did it.You have to be so careful as to not alienate your kids.You were a good momma 🙂

  4. mssc54 says:

    “Buttinski” (aka “parenting”).

    Too many parents today want to be their child’s best frind. Children already have friends. They’re called peers.

    About ten years ago I would see one of the neighborhood teenaged girls driving home for “lunch”. Our home is on THE corner of the neighborhood and we see practicaly all the cars that come in.

    I began noticing that when this girl would be driving down the street a boy on the passenger side would duck down in the seat so people couldn’t see him. I struggled as to what to do. Should I mind my own business or “butt in.” Shamefully I minded my own business.

    Well now the “product” of the sneaky teenager is living with her grand parents behind us one house over. I think she’s nine now. Our little seven year old daughter likes for her to come over and play. Problem is the “other kid” is bossy and abuses the toys. So rather than forbiding the kid from coming over I’ve began to point out the inappropriate behavior to our daughter. We don’t let our daughter go over there. If I would have “butted in” ten years or so ago I would have missed out on this teaching oppertunity. 😉

  5. Sue says:

    I haven’t picked Trinity’s friends yet, but I have said one or two things about stories she tells. Her grade is small and there are only 2 sections so she’s always around the same people. At conferences her teacher even made the comment that she can’t believe that in 3rd grade the girls can act the way they have been. Bossy, picky, teasing, gossiping; you name it it sounds like these girls do it. Trinity comes home and will tell me right away who did what to who or what happened on the playground that day. I’m glad she does and for the most part I just nod and say “what did you do?” She seems very conflicted sometimes which breaks my heart b/c she’s so young, but at least I know she’s trying and telling me what’s going on. I just tell her, treat people how you want to be treated. I pray that this is a phase for these girls b/c we have a LOT of school years to get through with that group!

  6. nikki says:

    Since Bailey is only 8 we haven’t had any problems with his friends so far. I hope we don’t. Bailey is friends with everyone but has a select few that are GOOD friends. They are good kids as far as I know. His best friend also named Bailey is a great kid. Very smart and makes good decisions, thinks about stuff before he does it. I know him well so I can say that.
    As he gets older he will make new friends and they probably won’t all be great influences. We are his parents and if I need to make the decision that he can’t be friends with a certain person I will make that decision. I will have good reasons though and generally I’d like to say I’d let him figure it all out on his own. He needs to learn good decision making too, obviously. I’m not going to dictate who he is friends with but I will monitor who his friends are. If I see any of his relationships affecting him in a bad way, I will step in. And he will know his dad & I mean business. I want him to succeed in everything he does, a bad influence will derail him and I flat out won’t have that. That’s not my picking his friends though, that’s me being a parent. GREAT POST!!! 🙂

  7. starlaschat says:

    Sounds good to me Joy. I think it’s important to keep a loving eye on your children and to step in on occasion. That’s why you are the moma bird. I think it is a very tough job, but also a very very important one.

  8. kweenmama says:

    With teenagers you do have to be so careful, because if they feel they are being controlled they WILL rebel. Sometimes it’s good to tell your kids that you worry about them and hope that they are a good influence on “so and so.” If it becomes necessary though, there is nothing wrong with being a budinsky.

  9. Gary says:

    I have had to do this once. There was a kid my step son was hanging out with that was just BAD BAD news. He stole wine coolers from our fridge while my wife and I were gone, he cusses like a sailor at 12 years old, starts fights with other kids and various other reasons. I couldn’t take it anymore and asked that this kid NOT come onto our property because he was just TROUBLE! We let our son know that he was NOT to hang out with him and explained why and he thankfully understood and stopped hanging with him. This kid is writing his own ticket to prison someday and I’ll be damned if he is going to take my son along with him.

    Personally, I don’t think this is meddling in your child’s life, I think it’s doing what’s best for your child and being a parent.

  10. tessa says:

    If I felt a teenager was a bad influence, I would tell them why I didn’t want them hanging out together-it is their choice-but I’d tell them I hope they make the right ones and hope my influence was best. I like everyone’s answers and hope I will know what to do!

  11. laura says:


    there is the bad media,tv,net,bad clothing fashion etc they make it available for our kids to see every where they turn which is very hard for us parents to watch our kids every step they make or do then they blam the parents for not controlling their kids or displine their kids,and when we do start the displine in way of raising our voices or a displine slap they call it child abuse which they start putting it though our kids heads.the only way to bring our kids right is NO TV’S,NO NET,NO GOING OUT ETC ETC,its all up to the government to help us to stop this uncontolling technolegy which is hard for us parents to follow up to catch up with our kids and of course we pray to god to keep them save and keep doing our good job as parents

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