Some parents believe the best time to get to know a child’s friend is when they enter the adolescent years and are embarking on a independence and more freedom. Although this time is crucially important in knowing who your child is hanging out with, it’s just as important to develop those friendships early on in their life, even as early as elementary school. If you’re having a difficult time trying to figure out when you should get to know your child’s friend then this article will help you understand why getting to know them earlier might be better.
Early teaching and socializing
While those teenage years are the scariest for parents because so many new things are being introduced to their children, the younger years can prove to be just as important and sometimes even make those teenage years less scary. There is much to learn and much to be taught during these crucial early childhood and elementary age years. Getting to know their friends now can make all the difference when they get into the teenage years. Granted, there’s always the chance that friends will move away and you have to make new ones, but getting to know what types of people your child attracts themselves to might make the transition into adolescents somewhat easier. The more often and the earlier you can get to know your child’s friends the better because you also have more time to get to know the parents and their family. And knowing the family can make all the difference in the world to you. It might mean the difference between having your kids always hang out at your house, or allowing them to go over to a friend’s house. Getting to know parents is just as important as getting to know friends. If you start early, then you have more time to get to know them, who they are, what they believe, what they will or will not allow in their home and vice versa. Here are some excellent ways to get to know your child’s friends without making them sit down in an interview with you:
•Volunteer in the classroom. In most cases children find friends that are in their class who they see, talk, and interact with on a daily basis. If you want to get a better feel for what their friends are like then volunteer in the classroom where you can see how they behave without a parent around. This not only helps the teacher out, but gives you a pretty good idea of how they will behave away from home and with other children. It also gives you a good idea of how your own child will behave when they are together and away from home.
•Have your child invite their friend over to play. Many people refer to this as a “play date”; regardless of what you want to call it, a great way to get to know their friends is to have your child invite them over to play or to eat dinner, or whatever. This gives you a chance to talk with the friends and get to know them better. It also gives friends a chance to get to know you and feel more comfortable around you.
•Sign them up for an extra-curricular activity together. This is a great way for them to be together and doing something constructive. It might also give you a chance to get to know the parents a little better and you can feel more comfortable about sending your child to their house.
So when should you get to know your child’s friends? Well, it depends on how hard you want the teenage years to be. Getting to know friends in the early stages of a child’s life can relieve some of the stress of peer pressure because you already know who your child is friends with; you know their families and you feel comfortable with allowing your child to hang out with them. You can wait until they are teenagers but it is much more difficult to get to know a teenager than it is a nine year old.