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Essential Rules of Parenting: Dealing with Your Child's School

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Put Up with Friends of Theirs You Don't Like


Do your children have any friends you're not keen on? That wild one in nursery who pulls other kids' hair when no one's looking? The girl in the fifth grade who's their best friend one day and not speaking to them the next? The 15-year-old who's always playing truant (and you're quite sure he smokes)?

Yep, right through your child's school career there will be friends you wish they didn't have. Maybe you feel they upset your child, or they're a "bad influence," luring them into sassing the teachers or ruining games. My mother hated any friends who didn't talk "properly" (bit of a problem in the south London school she sent me to). Still, at least she never found out about the one who taught me to make homemade explosives in his garden shed.

So what can you do about it? Well, assuming you've read the title of this Rule you know what I'm going to say. That's right -- you can just put up with it. Your children have to learn how to pick friends for themselves, even if you don't like their choices. They have to decide for themselves when they've had enough of Kirstie playing hot and cold with their friendship. Or whether cutting class with Jake during French is really a good idea.

And in the end, their decisions will come down to the values you've managed to impart. It takes time -- they have to experiment with the wrong friends in order to recognize the right ones. So don't beat yourself up if they're hanging out with a wild crowd at the age of six. In the end your good parenting will show through.

Next: Let Up the Pressure

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From The Rules of Parenting Copyright © 2008, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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