The “tween” years, the years between childhood and the teenage years, are some of the strongest years for mistakes to be made due to peer pressure, yet these are the years when children do not appreciate their mom’s help with choosing friends. As a mom, you have to be subtle in your approach to helping your child make wise choices as to the friends he is going to hang out with.
The first thing you need to do is start the conversation early. Talk to your child about what makes a good friend and what does not. Take their opinions, but also provide your own advice, not relating to any particular friend, but just to friendships in general.
Next, make your rules clear. For instance, you might say that your child will not be allowed to be friends with someone who uses drugs or hosts unsupervised parties, period. Since tweens still do not have the ability to drive, you can easily enforce these rules.
Encourage your tween to have friends in your home, whenever possible. This might not be possible during the week because you are working, but on the weekends, order pizza and have your home be a fun hangout. This gives you the chance to have a peek at the type of friend your child is attracting, and to maintain that conversation about wise and unwise friendships.
Finally, be a good listener. When your child wants to talk about the drama in her social circles, listen. You will be able to give your child insights on better thoughts about choosing friends, as well as turn yourself into an emotional confidant to your most important “friend,” your child! The “tween” years are some of the most important in your child’s social development, and their choice of friends will greatly influence their future endeavors.