- Try to know the friends that your kids and teens usually hang out with, and try to meet any new friends of theirs at least once. As this can be a challenge, you can offer to drive to meet new friends,, or agree to have new friends of your kids or teens over to your house to meet them. Try to meet their parents or care-givers too, and exchange phone numbers with them in case curfews are missed, or you don’t know where your kid/teen is.
- Volunteer to help with school and sport activities. You don’t have to take on the full job of coaching a team or leading a group, but you can help with occasional supervision or transportation to an event or game.
- Attend games and school open houses for another way to meet friends and their families.
- Allow inviting some friends over for a movie and popcorn night, or just to hang out. Bringing food out is a good way to interact with them and get to know them.
- Involve some of your kid’s friends in a family outing – like a trip to the pool or park, for another good way to include them and familiarize yourself with their interests. If you see any red flags, such as excessive secrecy or rude behaviour, you can raise these privately, to see how he or she views this behaviour. You might be surprised at what your kids or teen finds cool or uncool about their friend.
All families have disagreements and conflicts, and sometimes things do not get resolved easily. There are times when families may want to take a step back and consider how they are coping with disagreements and struggles, and perhaps try some new ways to get through discussions. Check out “Resolving Differences” in this section for more ideas on keeping things cool when times get tough.