I don't like the child my son has picked for a friend. Now what?


As a parent, I understand how difficult it is when your child is friends with a child you do not like. It might be helpful to ask yourself why you do not like your son’s friend. Are you bothered by something small like an annoying habit, or are you concerned that your child might be negatively influenced by his new friend’s disrespectful behavior? If you are bothered by an annoying habit, getting to know your son’s friend better might help you understand what your son likes about his friend. If the reason you don’t like your son’s friend is because his friend engages in some behavior that is not appropriate or disrespectful, tell your son that you think his friend’s behavior is not acceptable. When your son’s friend visits, help the boys learn to recognize the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behavior by mediating conflicts or involving them in role plays. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

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