It feels terrible to think that we may not like our children’s friends, but over the years, there is bound to be one or two who grate us the wrong way.
We can’t, after all, like everyone we come into contact with, and the same goes for other people’s kids. We may also be listening to our parental gut instinct that tells us that someone is not good enough for our child, or are a bad influence on them.
This is, of course, a much different scenario than simply not liking their friends. So, what do we do when there is no harm in our children’s friendships, and their friends would merely not be our pick?
This Is Not Your Friend
First of all, we cannot break up with our children’s friends or change or manipulate their personalities. Their relationship is not about us, and to be a good enough parent, we cannot dictate or force who our children connect with. We can, however, guide them and help them navigate their friendships.
Feelings Are Valid
Remember, these are your feelings towards this child or teenager, not your child’s, and they will not feel the same way as you. And that’s okay. Recognise your feelings and identify them. You may be able to pinpoint why you are triggered and feel this way about the child. It may not have anything to do with them at all.
It’s best not to highlight your feelings as it could make you or your child uncomfortable, which is not a position you will want to put your child in. Instead, consider what it is about the child you don’t like and how that makes you feel. It’s possible your reaction to the child could be coming from another place, and you are unfairly judging your child’s friend.
Get To Know Them
Have you considered that maybe you don’t know the child or teenager well enough to make any kind of decision about them? Spend time in their company and try to understand what it is about them that your child loves.
Talk To Your Child
If there are still niggling concerns that won’t leave your mind, have a chat with your child. Learn about their relationship by asking them questions such as "why do you like them?" and "what do you do together?" Talk to your child about things you may have noticed that worry you. Ask them about their friend’s behaviour. Ensure the conversation is balanced without blame, aggression, or negativity and problem-solve so you may feel better about their relationship.
And remember, time changes us all, and the child you may not be fond of today could be the best addition to your life as they grow older.