How to handle bad influences
Even if we wish we could hide our children away in a bubble to protect them from bad influences, we all know that's impossible! Are we then powerless to external influences? Not at all says Ms. Deslauriers: « The children that act inappropriately do so because they perceive they are getting a benefit from it. It's important for parents to teach their kids how to trust their instincts and to assert themselves. On the other hand, parents should show their kids what the negative consequences of their behavior are and propose compensatory and more productive behaviors so they can learn to navigate the world of social skills. »
As she said it best, the most important thing is to have confidence in our child and let them make their own decisions while being present to guide them, because if we make all the decisions for them, they will not learn to follow their instincts. In the example of a friend who is a negative influence, Ms. Deslauriers advises avoiding preventing your child to hang out with that friend, as that will tend to encourage your child to hide things from you and lie to you. In addition, remember that kids who are bad influences are often that way because they have serious issues going on at home and the last thing they need is to be ostracized which would feed their hostile behavior.
We also invite you to read our article Managing your child's friends for more tips and strategies on how to help your kids navigate their interpersonal relationships.
What's important to remember is that it's normal to worry about bad habits our kids bring home but that you shouldn't forget that they can also be positively influenced by their new environment. If you stay consistent in your actions towards your children and encourage them to understand and follow the rules of your home and family, and to have that same behavior in school, they will benefit from both establishments and learn a lot from all the new experiences that will inevitably teach them life lessons and form their character!