When You Don't Like Your Child's Friends

Sooner or later, your child will want to socialize with someone you don't like. Parents need to keep their cool and enforce house rules.
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Q: How can I discourage my daughter's new friendship with a playmate who encourages her to swear and talk back?

A: Let your child know that you find her friend's behavior unacceptable. At the same time, acknowledge that her friendships are her choice. In other words, "Try to steer the friendship rather than squelch it," says Michael Schwartzman, Ph.D., a New York City-based psychologist.

"Be available to your daughter when she needs to talk about her friend's behavior or sort out her feelings," Dr. Schwartzman suggests. Meanwhile, before her friend visits, be sure you set rules about what is acceptable conversation; infractions of family rules your daughter participates in-if she talks like a truck driver at the dinner table, for instance-should be met with the appropriate response. "In many cases," says Dr. Schwartzman, "that alone will discourage the friendship."

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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