He always seems to get caught in bad situations… Even though he’s usually a serious kid! How can you deal with a child who is easily influenced and gets dragged in unfortunate mishaps?
Why is your child impressionable?
It is troubling to see that most follower kids share the same character traits: most of them are well-behaved kids who never get in trouble. Every child (even at a later age) finds himself “under peer influence” one day or the other! The issue gets more serious if your kid blindly follows the behavior of certain friends or groups. From verbal tics to bad habits, his personality is completely modeled by his influencers!
Don’t confuse this for a weakness of character; follower kids just need to belong to a group, and generally have a hard time saying no. It can also reveal a lack of self-esteem. The risk is that it can lead your kid to get tangled up in some messing around and be a perfect target for bullies.
When should you get involved?
You were already concerned about this friend who seems to have a lot of influence on your child; and just today, you notice that he hasn’t come home from school and it is way past the authorized hour. After checking your Weenect app, you find out that he is way over the boundaries that you set together!
Maybe you get the impression that his new friendships tend to stifle his personality and that he doesn’t know how to be himself. He seems trapped in a toxic relationship with these new friends… Put a stop to all this!
Communication is, of course, your go-to tool. Ask him about his behavior without scolding him. Express your doubts and what you find negative in this situation. Another way to bring light on your child’s relationships is to invite his friends over. It’ll give you a better idea of the influence these friends may have on your kid.
A few tips to help your child
Help him step up and bolster his self-esteem: your child should be proud of what he is. Rather than putting him on a pedestal, it’s about pointing out his qualities and pushing them forward!
Teach him how to manage conflict: even if it sometimes leads to a fight, it’s okay to say no and to disagree with friends! Your kid must understand that he has to set his own boundaries, not just follow the group’s will.
Be open-minded: the only way to figure out if your kid’s friends are a bad influence is to learn more about them! Make an effort to introduce yourself, invite them over, meet their parents. It’ll help you understand their personality and you might realize that the influence is mutual, which is common!
Every kid can be impressionable at some point; children seek and value this sense of belonging. However, if your kid looks sad, bullied, uncomfortable or inclined to mess around, it is time for you to react and restore a balance in his relationships.