Bad friends for good kids
The children were frightened and fled from the "crime scene", not even making sure that no one was hurt from their pranks. “It was so funny!” - laughed Plohish, describing this episode.
I want to believe that he invented it. Everyone knows about his weakness - for the sake of everyone's attention, he is ready to turn inside out. But, if at least for a minute we assume that everything is true ... Honestly, my hands are getting cold. Lucy, retelling this story, did not know how to react to it. What is it: a game or a crime? But I can easily imagine a bad guy trying to convince his daughter to take part in such a dangerous game. “What is there to be afraid of,” he says, holding out a snowball. “We can always escape!” The first reaction is to prohibit communication with this juvenile bully! But I counted to ten, exhaled and did not express the ban out loud. Indeed, the prohibitions in such situations cause a reverse reaction among adolescents. (Remember, at least the story of Romeo and Juliet.) And then, the forbidden fruit is sweet. Whatever you say, but if mom forbids walking in the company of bad boys, the desire to do this increases one hundred times ... But what about me: to impede this friendship or leave it as it is? And if the policy of taboos sets the daughter against me? All parents are united in their desire to protect children from the dangerous influence of their peers. But separating the grain from the chaff, while trying to explain to Lucy herself why her dubious friendship with Badman bothers me, is not so simple. What can we do to protect our children from such bad guys?
CALCULATE A BAD FRIEND
Watch your child’s new friend. If serious internal conflicts are read in his behavior, moral values run counter to generally accepted ones, this is a cause for concern. Fear the bullies. “Teenagers are at greater risk if they are in the company,” says psychologist Lawrence Steinberg, professor at Temple University (Philadelphia), author of “You and Your Teenager: Major Challenges from 10 to 25 ″. He investigated the brain activity of adolescents in the process of a computer game that simulates car racing. At first he studied the work of the brain when a child plays alone. Then - in a group. “When friends were around, the teenager walked in the game for more risky maneuvers, for example, rode into a red light, hit a wall or other cars,” the psychologist shares. “Scanning showed that the area of the brain that responds to rewards and encouragement was more active if there were peers next to the teenager.”
Career teens can also negatively impact their friends. “Children with a strong desire to become famous are more aggressive,” said sociologist Robert Faris, a professor at the University of California, Davis. He studied 3,700 children from 8 to 10 years old, studying how the desire to become famous is connected with the psychological suppression of peers who are ready to step over friends to achieve their goal.
“They see aggression as a way to maintain their social status,” the professor concludes. Such adolescents humiliate and intimidate children younger and weaker than themselves. “It's contagious,” Faris warns. “Children who successfully fight for popularity, showing their aggressiveness, are one-third, but most aggressive children only dream of becoming famous, in addition, the most unprincipled ones are those who have already despaired of winning a fair fight.”
HOW TO INTERRUPT A Doubtful Friendship?
What if there is one among your child’s many friends who is worrying? “Many children under 12 years of age can be rehabilitated,” says psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, author of parenting books. - If your child has a bad friend, you need to intervene. But do not use bullying as an argument. Such a method is popular among those against whom you are trying to set your child against. ”But how to explain so that the child hears you? Sometimes it’s enough to ask one question: what do you like about him? Try to talk with your child frankly. From the answer of your son or daughter you will learn a lot about him. It is possible that your son spent days with a computer game fan just because this guy was the only person in the school who just talks to him. "Also," warns Lawrence Steinberg, "don’t put labels on it!" Try to convincingly explain why you do not like his friend. Then, perhaps, the child, having analyzed your words, will agree with you. ”Often, one conversation is not enough to break off a dangerous friendship. “Minimize their communication,” Dr. Hallowell advises. “Schedule trips to relatives for the weekend and be around when a bad guy comes to visit.” But don't panic if that doesn't work right away. “At this age, friendship does not last long,” says Steinberg. - Children's friendship is very unstable. Sometimes the best thing is to step aside and wait for their relationship to come to a logical conclusion without your efforts. ”
TEENAGERS: WHAT TO DO?
An attempt to influence the teenager’s friendships is a more complicated task - this is the opinion of Christine Carter, author of “Educating Happiness”. At the age of 12-14 years, children begin to realize their individuality, trying to separate from their parents. “You are losing control of him. He will never stop making friends with someone you don’t like, especially if you tell him about it. He will protect him to the last, even knowing that such a friend does not suit him. Much more effective methods will be required. ” Here are some of them.• Seed of doubt. Let's say you noticed that your daughter’s new girlfriend is imposing her own rules and tastes on her. State the fact: “Do you go to the cinema to watch this (here the name) film? God, how have you changed. " The daughter will be interested in: “In what sense?” You: “You used to hate a movie about superheroes, you thought it was primitive, and having made friends with this girl, you only look like that ...” It sounds harsh, but sometimes that’s not bad. ”Sow your child that he has a good friend : "Your other friend has an evil tongue." But do not expect quick results. It will take the girl time to comprehend this, ”says Carter. After some time, you may notice that the daughter is less and less communicating with these friends. But it’s too early to rejoice. “If your child understands how he is being manipulated, and is able to develop protection, then you can relax,” concludes the author of the book “Raising Happiness.”• Set the law. If the prohibitions do not work, you must enter restrictions. Especially when it comes to a teenager with whom your child spends a lot of time, and this communication can harm his safety, self-esteem or reputation. "If a new friend has a detrimental effect on a child, talk to him about it," advises psychiatrist Edward Hallowell. “But you will not see anything but rejection.” “I have two sons,” Hallowell continues. “At one point, one of them began to bother me. I told my son about it, but he insisted that he was a great guy, despite his challenging manners. I believed, and the friend was really good. Another friend of my son pulled something from our house, here I was harsh: "He will not cross our threshold until he returns the stolen and apologizes to me." "His cowardice proved my case, now my son doesn’t want to hear about him."• Be an example. “Take a closer look at your child’s friends, then you’ll better understand how he sees you,” Carter adds. - The mother of one boy once told me: “My son talks with guys who, when they meet, drink.” I asked her the only question: “Do your meetings with friends often go without a glass of wine?” “Never.” The apple never falls far from the tree. It is the parents who create the behavior model for their children - including in the choice of friends. ”
IF A FRIEND IN A TROUBLE
Information reached you: one of your child’s friends has serious problems. “Act as if you were talking about your own child,” recommends Michael Borba, a family therapist. If your child’s friend is systematically insulted, if he out loud discusses the possibility of suicide or has digestive problems, in all cases you need to call his parents to protect him from problems. “Do what you must,” Borba continues. “You can lose the trust of your child, but he can lose a friend!” It is enough to tell the parents of the daughter’s friend: “When Anna came to visit us, I heard that she was sick in the toilet after dinner. I think you should know that. ” Now is the time for her family to act ... Returning to the snowball story. Then I regretted that I was chickened and did not call Mother Bad Boy. If this situation recurs, I will immediately notify her. How did the relations between Badman and Lucy develop? I sowed doubt in her. If Plohish slandered at their mutual friends, she said to her daughter: “It seemed to me that Plohish unflatteringly spoke about your friends. What's the matter?" We began to spend weekends outside the home more often. When he came to visit us, I was always there. So Lucy freed herself from the influence of Bad Boy. As soon as she got a distance, a prospect formed. “You know, Mom, Plohish is a tragic character, he starts a fight, and then complains that he was beaten,” her daughter once said. Victory! I realized that this was the beginning of the end of their friendship and my daughter’s step towards growing up.
Who is your child's friend
It’s worth thinking about whether your teenage child’s friends will be good or bad… long before they reach adulthood. So says family therapist Inna Khamitova.
The appearance of a bad friend is a symptom that illustrates the relationship of parents with a child. Just at some point they (the relationship) ceased to be adequate to his (child's) age. And if the first parental reaction is to prohibit this friendship, then most often we are talking about a directive style of education. Dad and mother are sure that they know better than a child what is good, right for him and what he should do. Demanding complete submission and fulfillment of his orders. It turns out that they do not trust him, suppressing his desires, blocking all undertakings. Naturally, a teenager compensates for this deficit in communication with peers, which his parents often do not approve of.
But the child and in friendship copies the model according to which relations are built in his parental family. If mom and dad see that their offspring lends itself to someone else's influence, it means that his parents are overly critical of him, thereby lowering his self-confidence, have little interest in his life, and do not communicate with his friends. An insecure teenager will self-affirm in the same age . And this means that he can find himself among the dubious public, in which to maintain his authority he will have to smoke or try alcohol, enter into an early sexual relationship.
What to do?
1 Confidential conversation and no prohibitions, criticism or intimidation. After all, you can prohibit what can be controlled. In addition, it is worth considering that for a teenager the opinion of his peer friends is more important than parents. 2 Admit to yourself that there were some flaws in the upbringing of the child, and figure out which of the needs of the son (daughter) is blocked in the family. 3 Try to transform the relationship into more partnerships that take into account the interests of the teenager and his desires.
PHOTO: FOTOBANK / GETTY