- ....but you cant choose your family, so the saying goes.... the key word in that phrase being 'you'. However, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, noted Australian child psychologist, would argue that not only can you choose your own friends, that you should be choosing your childrens friends aswell. As much sense as he usually makes, I cant say that i agree with him this time.By his logic, a parent should be active in choosing who their children can and cant play with from an early age, based mainly on whether an individual child is going to be a positive influence on their child or not. That is, if you think that little Johnny is a 'bad' kid, you should ban your little person from playing with him again, and only allow the 'good' kids to make the playdate list. I say 'pffft! ' to that. Yes, we all want our children to be friends with children who bring out the best in them, with children who have nice manners and come from a good home. Sadly, not all children have the good fortune of being born into a family who teaches them manners, or who disciplines them enough, and those children may be bratty, obnoxious little bullies by the time they hit kindergarten. But to deny a friendship between those children and yours, i think is a little harsh - both to your child, and to the playmate you are denying.I dont know about the rest of you, but i hope that by the time Flynn is in kindergarten i have been able to teach him what is and isnt appropriate behaviour. Hopefully this will make him naturally gravitate towards other children who exhibit the same 'good ' behaviours. ( And, by all accounts, this is already happening. His 'best friend' is a beautifully mannered little boy who has lovely, friendly parents ). But, if it doesnt, and he finds himself in a friendship with one of the 'naughty' kids, is it really so bad? If its possible for ' good ' children to be swayed to bad behaviour by a ' bad ' child - doesnt it then stand to reason that the opposite can be true? That by my well-mannered child inviting his new friend over to play, that the display of good manners and friendliness and sharing exhibited in our home may influence the ' bad ' child to change his behaviour?I would like to think that, as a mother and a human being, i would first try and help the 'naughty' child, to give them a positive influence, before shunning them altogether. It is a different kettle of fish when we're talking about teenagers - who have both the capacity to decide things on their own, and stubborness to keep on with bad habits and behaviours - but for small children i think a loving, positive influence is a far better tool than the old divide-and-conquer approach.Does that make sense? How would you, or do you, go about dealing with your childrens friends? Are you the type who handpicks playmates for your kids, or you do your best with the children your own child has accepting into their circle?
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