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Getting to Know Your Child's Friends: Tips for Parents

​Friendships take on new meaning and importance as your child grows. Close friendships involve intense feelings, learning how to trust, learning to criticize with honesty, and feeling secure outside of the family. 

With more friends and a wider range of interests and activities, your child may begin to spend less time at home. By knowing your child's close friends, you will learn a lot about your child.

Get to know your child's friends.  

  • Talk with them on the phone.

  • Meet them at neighborhood or school events.

  • Find out what they and your child do together.

Let your child know that friends are welcome in your home.

  • Review "house rules" with your child prior to the visit.

  • Let your child, the friend, and the friend's family know that an adult will be there.

  • Know what's going on by seeing, hearing, and talking with them about what they are doing. Be informed, but keep a low profile.

Follow guidelines for when your child is invited to a friend's home.

  • Find out about the friend's "house rules" and who else will be at home, like parents, another adult, brothers, or sisters.

  • Ask about what they plan to do during the visit.

  • Talk with your child about things that are important to you: no guns, violent TV and video games, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Take this time to review behaviors that are healthy and those that are dangerous.

  • If your child does not have his or her own cell phone, be sure to have the telephone number of where he or she can be reached.

  • If there is a change of plans, you need to be told.

Get to know other parents.

  • Talk with them on the phone.

  • Meet them at neighborhood or school events.

  • Greet them when dropping your child off at their home.

Communication is key.

School-aged children need and want more independence. Good communication, with clear expectations, helps parents and children trust that what is going on is safe. 

To communicate clearly and openly with your child:

  • Make clear and consistent rules.

  • Speak in a firm and loving voice.

  • Agree on rules, like curfew time, and enforce the agreed-upon consequences when a rule is broken.

  • Know where and with whom your child is spending time.

  • When plans change—and they will— let your child know that you need to be contacted for approval of any changes. 

Stay in touch.

  • If your child has a cell phone, talk about its proper use.

  • For emergencies, your child needs to know, and have written down, your home, work, and cell phone numbers.

  • Have a backup plan. If you cannot be reached, your child also needs the contact information for an adult relative, neighbor, or family friend who can be called.

Additional Information from


Last Updated
Friends Are Important: Tips for Parents (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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