My child brought home a boy friend was reckless, broke planter pots and cups, and kept asking my son to give him his toys as gifts. I asked my son what he found so interesting about such a terrible boy. My son defended the boy.
Set Healthy Boundaries
I told my son that I did not approve of the child’s behavior. While my son had the right to choose his own friend, he would however be responsible for the friend and his behavior. What does that mean? I said if he breaks things you fix them, you clean it up after him and you get to have him pay for the damage or you pay for it out of your pocket money.
My son initially thought that was unfair, why should I be responsible for someone else? I told him that you brought him into our home and therefore he is your responsibility. He said, but when I broke the plate when it slipped through my fingers you didn’t make me pay. I told him that I brought you into this world so I am responsible for you. But I did not bring this child here so I am not responsible for his terrible manners.
Offer an Opportunity to Correct Behavior
If you choose destructive friends you get ready to take responsibility. My son talked with the boy and told him that he didn’t want him to make such a mess and break things, since he didn’t want to be his clean up crew. The boy just laughed and told him that my son had a weird mother.
Before the boy left I had him open his bag and removed all the toys he wanted to take home with him. He claimed that my son gave him the toys as presents. I asked my son if that was true. The first time he was upset and said why are you embarrassing me with this boy?
I told my son, that I don’t like the boy since the boy was rude, destructive and I have chosen to set healthy boundaries.
My son chose not to have boundaries with his friend, and that was his choice. But he was responsible for the boy’s behavior. I presented him with a bill for the broken items and suggested that he could start working the bill off with chores. My son was not pleased. I suggested that he had a choice to choose his nice friends, those who would play, didn’t break things and didn’t leave with our property.
My Son’s Learning Moment
Visits with the terrible friend grew infrequent, and eventually, they stopped entirely.
After a few weeks I asked my son, what happened with your friend? My son told me that he didn’t want to be friends with him any more since he was a jerk and he was sick and tired of defending him from everyone. He told me the kid just didn’t “get it” and was picking fights with everyone and it got to be annoying. Learn more about instilling positive discipline with this classic.
Friends bring joy and laughter into our life and into the life of your child. They also present an opportunity to teach honesty, self-honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and self-responsibility and healthy boundaries.
About the All-Star Blogger
Edie Okamoto is a Bay Area resident who raised her children while running an international business consultancy from her home. Now that the children are grown she enjoys sharing her many wonderful parenting and business experiences, as well as observations about current events and culture.