The Buddy System: Are Your Child’s Friends a “Positive Influence”?

Posted March 15, 2012 by

Most adults can say they had a friend or two in their childhood that they knew were not a great influence. But how did we choose those friends? What made us “friend” them? As parents we have to teach our children how to choose good friends. We need to talk with them about what a good friend looks like — and how to be a good friend.

Children want friends from very early ages. They begin forming friendships on playgrounds, in school and at social functions. They look for people to play with. As they become teens their friends are extremely important to them and their friends’ approval is even more important.

It’s a parent’s job to ensure they are telling their children (very early on) that some of the characteristics of friends are:

  • Friends don’t make you feel bad about yourself
  • Friends don’t make you sad/mad all the time
  • Friends like you for who you are
  • Friends will tell you the truth
  • Friends want you to do well in school/life
  • Friends don’t want you to get into trouble
  • Friends are honest

We need to be honest with our children so that they’ll want to have friends who are positive and a good influence. We also need to make our kids feel good about themselves so they’ll want to be a good influence on others.

How do you talk to your child about choosing friends?


Kumari is a social worker and a parent coach. Her company, Optimistic Expectations fosters better parent/child relationships and family cohesiveness on her website Optimistic Expectations. She is the author of Real Talk: Ten Parenting Strategies to Raise Confident Successful Children.

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