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Daughter's Friend Is a Bad Influence

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My daughter's friend is a bad influence on her. Should I let them hang out?

A: It isn't wise for parents to forbid their kids from playing with other children. Unless there's a real problem, like a child always asking your child to steal things with her, try to see what's good about your daughter's friend so that you can understand why that friendship is valuable to her.

Putting down your daughter's friends indirectly criticizes her and shows your disapproval of her choices. Ask open-ended questions about your daughter's friend. If you've observed this girl engaging in behavior that you disapprove of, you can ask your daughter, "How do you feel when your friend teases other kids?" or "I've noticed that your friend never shares anything with other children. Does that bother you?"

Children can understand the negative behaviors and bad habits of others if you talk to them about how we all have parts of ourselves that we need to improve upon, rather than forbidding them to be friendly with anyone who is exhibiting some less than admirable character traits. If your daughter is too overpowered by another child's negative influences and persuasion, then you need to intervene and free her from that bullying domination.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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