As your children get older, their friends mean more and more to their lives, and sometimes that starts to worry us as parents.
We may not know their friends very well, or not be thrilled about the influence they have on our children.
Here are some things to think about:
1) As a parent, you still have more influence over your children than anyone else does. Think about yourself – no matter how old you get, you still want your parents to be proud of you, don’t you? Children (you included) have a built-in desire to please their parents.
2) Children are supposed to grow up – that’s what they’re trying to do when they venture out into other relationships. It’s normal. Don’t feel rejected. Work on your relationship with them, talk to them when they want to talk, and be an encourager.
3) Continue to be their parent! Keep boundaries in place, and ask questions. You’ve probably heard the slogan: “Parents: The Anti-Drug.” Let your children know you care about them – when you don’t ask, it says you don’t care. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions, letting them know all the time it's because you love them and want the best for them. Be on their side -- they need you.
4) Have your kids’ friends over to your house a lot. Make your home a fun, kid-friendly place. Then you know where they are and what they’re doing (but you can’t be overbearing). When my sons were teenagers there was a basketball hoop out front, Nintendo, ESPN and instruments in the house, a trampoline in the backyard, and a ton of food in the kitchen. It was loud and smelly and messy….and a ton of fun.
5) Keep your faith on them! Refuse to fear! I often prayed what I call the ‘Teflon Prayer’ over my kids – “Father, let no ungodly influence stick to my children, let it slide right off them. Bring people into their lives who will influence them for good and infuse them with godly confidence and character.” (2 Cor 6:14, Psalm 1:1).