You can choose your friends. But can you choose someone else’s?

You can choose your friends but….

Nicky* writes

My eldest son (11) is in his last year of primary school and also a member on the children’s school council on which he was elected by fellow peers. He is so honoured to have that role and wears his badge with pride.  He is generally a well rounded boy, well behaved, no trouble, very intelligent, responsible and well mannered kid, and someone whom I am very proud of.

Of course there are times when he falls off the rails and needs some steering back but its never anything huge, just small things that a ten minute talk wont fix.

But he has the tendency to attract himself to kids that in my opinion, are silly and not well behaved at all, he is really not that good at choosing friends. They are not kids that I want him associating him with. They get into trouble by doing dumb things and to me they are kids who seem to be constantly drinking red cordial if you know what I mean…anyway, this in turn causes my son to be silly himself and get himself into trouble, which is the case of what happened at school yesterday.

And as a result the school threatened to take his badge away from him, which made him terribly upset, and were this to happen would leave him absolutely devastated. He doesn’t have al ot of confidence so for that to happen to him would be shattering.

We had a discussion about choosing friends and the things he needs to consider.  I tried to sway him to play with other kids and he told me that he felt that he had no one else to play with at school because ‘all the other kids are in the popular group and there is no way I could get in that group”, it saddens me to think that there are “groups” out there and that he feels defined by them.

I tried to talk to him about the kids he is choosing to be friends with and he just got upset and started to cry and told me that if he didnt play with them then he would have no friends at all. Now as I mentioned I dont like these children and would like him to play with other kids but I dont want him to feel like he has no friends either.

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I am also not saying that he is not to blame, I explained to him that if he is associating with these kids then he is choosing to take the blame for anything they do that is wrong also, simply because he is associated with them.

And I know that under the influence he can easily be swayed to act like a two year old, especially if his mates are doing so. I am an also an ex school teacher myself so i certainly know how different kids can be at school and at home, and I certainly understand teachers frustrations when they have kids in their class who act like little shits.

So after trying to talk to him this morning, sadly he left for school crying, worried about his friends, his school badge and worried in himself that all his friends are silly.

My concern and worry is how do I teach him to make right choices when it comes to friends?  How do I make him see who are good people to associate with and who are not? And how do I do this without seeming like a mean mother?!

Did your parents ever have a view on your friends when you were growing up? Did you ever hang with a ‘bad’ crowd? If you have kids now, how do you handle it? Any thoughts or advice would be so greatly appreciated.

[image by Shutterstock]

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