One of a mom’s nightmares is to discover her son or daughter in the company of the wrong crowd, doing the things that the wrong crowd normally does like drinking, sex and drugs. Is there a full-proof way to make sure this doesn’t happen? Can we tell our children who to hang out with? Can we approve their friends first?
While our children are young, we mostly make their choices for them. We choose the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the movies they watch, the time they sleep. And yes, we actually choose their friends. We organize playgroups with our other mommy friends, and invite kids we like for sleep-overs and parties. In that sense, we choose their friends for them. But as they get older, their circle grows bigger, as they start school and get to know other kids, we gradually lose control. And ultimately, we just have to trust that our kids make the right choices in their friends.
There are things that my husband and I do to help our kids in this area. As it has always been said “Bad company corrupts good character.” This is not just a saying, but a biblical principle that has proven itself true in too many an occasion. Knowing this, we do our best as parents to steer our children away from bad company.
Though we really cannot choose the kids our children will get along with, we can set them up to choose the right ones.
We need to be deliberate. Toddler playgroups are not just a break for me. It is a deliberate effort on my part for my children to develop friendships early with the kids of my friends, whom I know have the same values as I do. Come to think of it, the closest friends of my older kids are the ones whom they have been playing with since they were little. We plan out of town trips with different families to give our children the opportunity to bond with each other. We look for various ways to get our children with other kids who are the “right” company for them and hope that they hit it off with one or more of them.
We need to educate our children. We need to give them guidelines on what a real friend is… one who encourages, who builds up, who influences us to do good and to be better, who draws us to Jesus and not away from Him.
And lastly, we need to pray for our children. We need to pray that they will have godly wisdom and discernment to always make the right choices.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Prov13.20.MSG