How much can you influence your child’s choice of friends?

“You’re Not Allowed to Play with Him Anymore.”
by Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Article Summary: While you may lose the ability to control your children’s choice of friends by the age of eight or nine, you do not lose your ability to influence these choices. Here are some helpful ways to talk to your kids about their choice of friends, from Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman, authors of Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children.

“You’re not allowed to play with I’m anymore.”

“I don’t want you going over to his house again.”

“You’ll have to find different friends.”

“She’s not a good friend to have.”

“You can’t associate with him in the future.”

The statements above are examples of Parent Talk designed to control your children’s choice of friends. While this degree of control may be possible up to the age of eight or nine, your control stops there. After fourth grade you lose the power to choose your children’s friends. Why? Because at this time in your their life it is no longer possible to enforce your desires concerning this issue. If you can’t enforce a command it makes little sense to send it.

While you lose your ability to control your children’s choice of friends at that age, you do not lose your ability to influence whom they choose as friends. If you accept the fact that your child is choosing her own friends, which she actually is, and assume that posture as you talk with her, you can have a positive impact on her thinking and her choices by using well constructed Parent Talk.

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