At every birthday party there is always that kid. The kid that commands the attention, drawing it away from the birthday child. The kid that pitches a full on fit if they don’t get what they want, (and we are not talking about a 2 year old.)
The one that is now old enough to know better but gets away with mistreating friends and acting out. The snotty little individual that left you with your mouth hanging open as they talked to you, an adult, with such disrespect and entitlement. Yes, you know the kid. (If you don’t then it might be your own.)But most of us have encountered this one friend of our child that acts like an teenager at 7 and has never been told no.
So what do you do if your child befriends one of these types of kids? How do you handle this child when it comes time for a play date? Worse yet, what do you say when your child begins to behave like that kid? You know they are children but sometimes there is one friend that is just not our cup of tea. How to you handle it?
Let them figure it out
According to an article from WebMD , a better way might be to help your child determine of this person is really a good friend. Try your best not to bad mouth the friend to your child. Instead use examples of observed behaviors to get your child to think more critically about the relationship.
“Don’t lecture; listen. And help your child think clearly about whether or not this person is really a good friend. “You need to say, ‘I’m worried about what’s happening to you,'” says Alison Birnbaum, a licensed social worker in Connecticut who works with families. “You’re not being your best self, and it’s my job as your mom to help you achieve your highest goals.
Maybe it’s you
Also consider if there are other things at work in your head. Maybe this child reminds you of someone you disliked growing up. Are they possibly stirring up memories in your own childhood you would rather forget?
In an 2014 article on the CNN website Clinical psychologist Kirsten Cullen Sharma, co-director of the early childhood clinical service at the NYU Langone Medical Center’s Child Study Center, says the first thing parents need to ask themselves is why they don’t like one of their children’s friends.
“Is it because they don’t like that person’s mom? Is it because that kid gets really good grades and it’s easy for them and that person is a little narcissistic? Or is it something that is really serious that you’re worried your child would model an unhealthy behavior?” says Sharma.
Banning your child from seeing this friend will probably make you into the enemy. But if you really feel this other child exhibits harmful behavior that is bad for your kid then it is perfectly fine to avoid them all together. Have other plans when asked for a play date for example. Limit your child’s opportunity to interact with them and eventually they will both move on.
Is the kid a bad influence
The influence the relationship between our child and the friend could be what is really bugging you. Maybe you witness your child allowing the friend to mistreat or bully them. It is jarring for a parent to watch their child change into someone they are not just so they will be liked. It is important to remind your child of all of the wonderful things that make them who they are. Reinforce the things that make someone a good friend and remind your child they deserve to be treated well.
In an article from Real Simple Magazine there are several types of bad influence that your child can encounter each with a unique set of challenges. In most of the cases, sticking firm to preset limits and sharing open communication with your child is the best way to combat many of these behaviors, the article says.
I am not a family therapist but in my view it is important for your child to start to recognize children who display these behaviors. Also that they learn how to deal with them. Let’s face it we have all encountered the adult version of these types of children. They may get taller but in some cases, they never really go away. These experiences can be looked at as an opportunity to strengthen your child’s social skills. To teach them the self confidence and self worth they will in adulthood.