Let’s face facts: sometimes you just don’t like some of your child’s friends. You’re only human after all and there are going to be people you just don’t resonate with well.
While that’s definitely okay, it can be challenging when your son or daughter’s BFF grates on your nerves. Chances are, you can handle an irritating friend even if you don’t understand the chemistry. You may not particularly enjoy having them around, but you love your children, so you try to be patient and deal.
Sometimes it isn’t that the friend in question is irritating. They may just be so different that you’re uncomfortable.
As much as you like to think that you’re open-minded and accepting, there may be cases where someone’s so different from your experience that it’s a challenge for you to warm up to them.
These differences may be cultural, religious, or social. Depending on your background, it may be a challenge to accept or figure out how to communicate with a person from a different country or culture. It may feel like you don’t like this person because you don’t understand them or you have a fear that they might pull your child away from you and your own comfort zone
But what if it’s more than a personality issue? What if you’re concerned that a new friend is a bad influence on your child or even dangerous? Do you leave it alone or do you interfere?
Unless your child’s life is in immediate danger because of a friendship, it might be a good idea to take a little time before taking any action. As hard as it is to accept that your studious daughter who’s never gotten into trouble in her life has fallen for the bad boy in town, you sometimes have to accept that opposites attract.
Forbidding relationships, whether they’re friendships or romances, rarely work out the way you hope they do. More often than not, your fight against the union strengthens their resolve to be together rather than draw them apart. Instead of fighting it, you might want to step back and consider whether or not you’re making an honest, objective assessment of the troublesome person. Or could it be that there’s something else going on that’s influencing your feelings?
For example, if the new friend reminds you of someone from your past that history could unfavorably color your views. If the person from your past was a bad apple you may project that onto your child’s friend, no matter how wonderful the friend truly is.
That’s not to say that your instincts are incorrect. It could be that you’re picking up on subtle (or not so subtle) clues that are setting off alarm bells.
One of the best ways to know if your reaction to this person is accurate or if you’re projecting things from your past is to check in with your Internal Guidance System (IGS). As challenging as the relationship may be, your IGS will help you to see it for what it is, including how it may be a benefit to your son or daughter. You may find that by tapping into your IGS, you clearly see the person behind the different clothes, long hair, or foreign appearance, and see what your child sees — a wonderful human being.
As much as opposites do attract, it’s also true that people generally gravitate towards others with whom they have something in common. While it may seem like two incompatible statements on the surface, it really means that you can find important things in common with someone who seems quite different in other ways.
Your child deserves your trust in choosing their friends. They may befriend people you don’t care for. And as much as you’d prefer to love each and every one of their friends, it’s actually healthy for them to have a wide variety of people in their life.
It speaks highly of your child when they can see beyond the things that separate people and see the uniqueness in others even if they do pick their bad apples now and then. As hard as it may be for you to step back and watch that happen, it’s about their life and their unique path. In the end, they may learn some of their most important life lessons from the very people you wanted to keep them from.
For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.