10 ways your kids' friends are ruining your family

When your kids' friends are a problem, how can you step in without socially isolating your child?

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  • No matter how much you love your children, they're bound to push your buttons now and again. Allowing your children to assert themselves, while still teaching them to behave respectfully, is part of what it means to be a parent.

  • But what can you do when your kid's friends are the problem?

  • Here are ten ways your kids' friends are ruining your family:

  • 1. Push, shove or bully your child

  • There's nothing worse than a bully. Teach your kids how to safely stand up to them.

  • 2. Break things in your house

  • Any kid can have an accident or two. But if you're constantly picking up shards of broken toys, it's time to speak up.

  • 3. Use potty language

  • Your kids' friends' parents may tolerate it, but you don't have to.

  • 4. Exclude your child from games

  • Friends who exclude your child are not friends at all. Help him understand that.

  • 5. Try to call all the shots

  • Some kids learn to be control freaks early on. Teach your child to both value her own opinions and express them.

  • 6. Seek revenge when wronged

  • A kid who is out for revenge is scary. Alert your child to the danger and help him find new friends.

  • 7. Play fast and loose with the truth

  • Teach your children the harmful nature of secrets and lies.

  • 8. Engage in dangerous activities

  • For younger children, this might mean things such as pelting snow balls at passing cars. For older kids, it might be urging your child to try drugs. Teach your child to resist peer pressure.

  • 9. Show really unpredictable behavior

  • Every child is unpredictable at times. Watch out for kids who swing regularly from pole to pole. Something's wrong.

  • 10. Speak disrespectfully to you

  • Let your kids' friends know that your house rules include speaking respectfully to adults.

  • Edward Hallowell, M.D., a psychiatrist in Sudbury, MA, and author of several books on parenting advises, "If a friend comes over and behaves badly, you have to intervene; then have a talk with your child about him. Parents often make the mistake of accommodating a friend's bad conduct for fear of hurting their child socially. But that can be a tacit endorsement."

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  • Label the behavior, not the child

  • Provide a solid reason for the unacceptable behavior you've observed. For example, "I noticed that whenever Sarah comes over, she always picks the games. Then when you want to do something else, she doesn't listen."

  • Parenting expert Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of "Raising Happiness," states: "Kids count on their parents to have high standards for their friendships; any child under 12 is not old enough to make these decisions solo."

  • Help your kids pick good friends

  • Encourage high standards in your home. Perhaps most importantly, make your house the kind of warm and welcoming environment where your kids and their friends want to come and hang out. Then you won't have to wonder where they are.

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Read about the power of families to seek after the one in Susan's book: Coming Home: A Mormon's Return to Faith.

Website: http://www.returntofaith.org

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