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  1. #1

    Default When you dont want your kid to hang out with a particular “friend”?

    Friends for DS13 are sort of rare to come by. He has plenty of friendly acquaintances from the charter, and from online gaming (apparently gaming during school hours brings a high likelihood of homeschoolers).
    But a couple weeks ago, he made a bff from the charter who is a bad influence on his behavior. Ive encountered this kid twice, both times he had no time or manners for anyone who wasnt in his friend circle. (He ignored other parents, and was rude to younger siblings, and pretty much ran off with my son to do his own thing.) DS had speakerphone on when he was gaming one evening, and this friend was criticizing DS’s friends that werent part of his social circle. I spied on DS’s chat log with him, and it was full of “dont tell the parents” (about a girl issue).
    (This kid is a public school refugee, and meets all the stereotypes of lack of proper socialization that comes from there.)
    I dont know how much is just a part of teenage budding independence, and how much is because this kid is a jerk.
    Grama, who generally keeps DS from Wednesday evening unti Saturday, has noticed a big change in DS’s behavior, and has banned him from using the phone with said kid when he is at her house.
    I know I cant really control who my kid has for friends, but Im really uncomfortable with “bad influence”, and my son losing his willingness to engage with all ages.
    What do I do?
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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  3. #2

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    Unless, it is a friendship that is likely to get them in trouble (drugs, violence, promiscuity, those kinds of things), I try not to prevent them from choosing their own friends but I do not allow behavior in my home or in my presence that does not align with the values I've taught them since they were little. I don't care how their friends behave, that kind of behavior does not fly in my home and there are consequences for that kind of behavior if they choose to imitate their less savory friends.

    Have you tried talking to him? I like to make comments about what I overhear and see and ask open ended questions to get them thinking about what kind of friend they want to be and what kind of friends they want to have. I try to keep this conversation ongoing all the time from the time they have school age peers. We also comment and discuss behaviors we see in movies and on tv. The movie Mean Girls is great for talking about poor behavior and how to be a good friend with preteen and teen girls but my boys didn't have much interest lol.

    All my kids have made friends with other kids that I didn't approve of from time to time. But keeping an ongoing conversation with them about how to be a good friend and what kind of influences they allow their friends to be has worked really well with helping them see when a certain friendship should be kept at a distance. They all eventually came to the conclusion themselves of whether or not a friendship was worth keeping. There have only been a few truly dangerous friendships that I had to put my foot down about and I think because I reserved my veto power for only the truly dangerous situations is part of why they never felt that I was trying to choose their friends for them or anything like that.

    Just one more random thought... if the "dttp" conversation was only about a girl, I would (and did when my older kids were younger) talk to my son about whether or not keeping things from your parents was a good idea and how keeping even trivial things like relationships with girls can lead to getting into bad situations. I don't expect my teens to tell me everything, that would be naive of me, but I do trust them to talk to me when things are important. And I stress that to them until they get tired of hearing it lol. With my oldest son, this was a really hard threshold for me to cross because he was still my baby in my mind (and he still is at almost 21) and I wanted to know everything about his life still but he was getting closer and closer to adulthood and needed to have some privacy and autonomy with his life. It really was a struggle for me to find the right mix that was comfortable for me and him.

  4. #3

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    I don't really have more to what MapleHill so eloquently suggested. My first thoughts were the same--you can't really forbid contact (though you can try to limit it a bit), but you CAN keep the lines of communication open.

    As far as Grama goes, although she rightly can make the rules in her home, maybe try to get her on the same page? By getting the same comments and conversations from both of you may reinforce your goal.

    I recall when I made bad friend/boyfriend choices as a teen. My parents expressed their views, but did not ban me from seeing them. Every single time, I did eventually see that toxic friend as who they really were. Hopefully, your son will do the same?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4

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    I don't have much sage advice as my guys are a little younger, but I do have lots of sympathy as we've dealt with gross friends already. I think Carol and MapleHill gave lovely advice which i'm filing away myself. i think as a homeschooler this feels even more complicated because their social options are more limited, and on the other hand we are then used to maybe a bit more control over who we have around our kids. I think one thing I would try with Grama (if she's on board) would be to try to start making him aware of how his behavior changes around this kid and setting a limit of "you can talk to this kid at her house as long as your behavior remains positive. Make him more accountable and aware of himself and how his crap affects the people he cares about. Friendship is so complicated and I really feel already that the influence of bad behavior is SO much more powerful than the influence of good. I've seen plenty of examples of bad behavior picked up by good kids, and VERY few (actually, none) of good behavior just rubbing off magically onto the difficult kid. That crap is just like catnip to kids.

  6. #5

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    I think Maple said it best. I would add one other idea. I keep talking with DS about how do redirect conversations, deflect critiques, or how to talk about how to be kind with people. Sometimes it is hard to be brave, but with practice the can sometimes surprise us.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  7. #6

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    I think you have got lots of good advice. My concern about it would be that from what you have written that this person sounds like someone who is in a way "abusive" and is trying to isolate your son from others (criticizing his other friends, saying don't tell parents etc.), which could be why you have seen such a change in your son's behavior. Because that sort of thing is not good for mental health. So I would personally focus on him not shutting out others, rather than discouraging him from being not being friends with this person. Then hopefully over time as he remains active with his other friends and family, he will see that this person is not healthy to be around or this "friend" will learn some healthier relationship behavior from seeing it modeled by your son.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 02-24-2019 at 05:31 PM.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  8. #7

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    Ahhh, it turns out Grama was a little more slack, that she just demanded that he behave. I asked him about this *friend* today, and he said he was a “backstabbing traitor” that he has to be nice to because of their mutual friends.
    So I guess they do figure these things out on their own, and Im glad I gave the prescient advice about his character. Maybe it will give me some credibility with him.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  9. #8

    Default

    Sounds like you got a good outcome at this stage.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  10. #9

    Default

    There is a lot of excellent advice here. I find when they get past a certain age, they need to be able to make more of their own choices to gain self esteem and a voice—including choosing friends. We have certain basic rules at our house (like not breaking things, no bad language, no internet without supervision, treating members of the household with respect—including pets, etc...). If anyone repeatedly breaks them, they don't get invited back. If I don't feel my boys are safe going to another kid's house (ex - parents are super nasty to their kids or seem checked out), they don't get to go. We also don't do sleepovers during the school year (dealing with tired kids on a school day is just too much stress for me). The boys understand why we do this. It also gives me a little control.

    Beyond that? Well, if my sons like annoying or gross friends, that's their choice. But they understand what I expect from them. If they pick up disrespectful or dangerous behavior? I will ground them. Likewise, we have started talks with DS11 about what to do if he encounters situations over his head. He knows if something bad happens during a sleepover (ex - someone does something illegal or dangerous) he can call DH or me, and we will come to pick him up without judgement.

    I am not above, though, making him very busy if he has a bad friend he isn't ready to let go of. He had a toxic nasty friend about two years ago, but he wasn't ready to cut him loose. I wasn't going to make him end it if he wasn't ready. He was old enough he needed to find the power to do that for himself. But it was terrible for his self esteem! So I found some really cool laid-back after-school classes for him (comic book class, drama, Minecraft coding, etc...), and he made new friends. All of the sudden, he stopped being interested in the jerk friend. He was a bit younger so I'm not sure if that would work for a 13 YO, but it really seemed to help. The fact we have more flexibility than people who have to send their kids to the same school all the time is a boon.
    Last edited by GloriousWeed; 03-12-2019 at 05:51 PM.

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When you dont want your kid to hang out with a particular “friend”?