You can't choose friends for other people. Or can you?

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Lend Lease

Excitement for the Family Life Forums is mounting, in fact we were so psyched over the reaction we got from the Forums last time we posted on Mamamia that we are diving in to talk about it again.  But this time we are talking about friends.  Not your friends though – the friends of your children… or the friends you may have had when you were a kid.

It’s every parent’s nightmare.  Your child’s new BFF is actually someone you can’t stand.  Of all the friends they could choose, they’ve chosen a classmate who regularly humiliates and teases them.  (You know this, of course,  because like any good parent you’ve been eavesdropping on their playdates while you pretend to put away the towels).

Or maybe the situation is worse.  Perhaps your child has fallen in with a friend who is leading them astray. Swear words and a smart-alec attitude have become de rigour.  Or maybe your child is being hauled into the principal’s office as their new friend’s accomplice.

So. What to do?

As a parent can you control whom your child becomes friends with?

The simple answer is no. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help steer your child to better choices.

Speakers at the Family Life Forums

Every parent of a primary school aged child knows the quickest way to strengthen a new friendship is to try and ban it.  Tell your child you don’t like their new friend Sally or Tom and they’ll be on the defence faster than you can say “Please God don’t let them be in the same class next year.”

So if trying to break up the BFFs is unlikely to work, what can you do?

For starters, start having conversations with your children – from a really early age – about what good friendships look like. What they feel like.  We teach our children many things but often a life skill as important as how to recognise a good friend isn’t one of them.  Talk about loyalty, laughter, shared interests and respect.  Talk about what good friends, true friends, don’t do:  bully, humiliate, taunt or try to get you to be someone or something you’re not.


Next, try to refrain from taking your child by the shoulders and crying, ‘Billy is a mean-spirited little bully. For the love of Vegemite stop hanging around him!” Instead, during one of the periods when your child is upset about being teased by their friend, talk (non-dramatically) about how that friendship feels. And if it meets the criteria of what a good friend should be.

And always encourage your child to have friends outside of school. That way should bullying and dramatic rifts occur, they have a second group of friends (or even just one great friend) to still spend time with. This also helps reaffirm that the issue is not with them and that they are still likeable.

If all else fails – and the issue isn’t overly serious – just sit it out.  Primary school friendships last about as long as “little lunch” …  in the blink of an eye your little angel will most likely have moved on. And so can you.

Do your children have friends that you do not like? Did you have friends that your parents did not like when you were a child?

Just a quick recap for those who are new to the concept of Mamamia taking to the road – The Family Life Forums are a series of ev

ents to be held in 13 regional and metropolitan Lend Lease shopping centres across NSW, QLD, VIC and WA.  The Forums are proudly brought to you by Lend Lease Shopping Centres and Mia is curating a cracking team to get out there and share some of the content that you most love from Mamamia.

Please visit Family Life Forum for your chance to win tickets and learn more about venues and timing.  You can also follow Family Life Forum on Twitter here and join them on Facebook here

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