Friends Are Important: Tips for Parents

Although children look to their friends and peers for validation of their behavior, parents continue to play an important role. This brochure focuses on the importance of peer relationships as children enter the teen years and encourages parents to get to know their child's friends. In addition, it offers guidance on monitoring children's behavior to prevent high-risk activities that may occur in and outside the home. The brochure reiterates the Connected Kids theme of clear, consistent, and positive communication. Parents are encouraged to know their children's whereabouts and to talk with them openly about expectations for staying in touch.

The brochure also encourages parents to help their child develop a sense of belonging. Prosocial youth groups and community-based organizations help promote resilience in youth. Many communities provide opportunities for young volunteers. In addition to helping the community, service opportunities also benefit the participating youth.

How to Use This Tool

  • With the child listening, ask the parent, "Who is _________'s best friend?" This initiates a discussion of friendships and you can learn much observing the child and parent interact.
  • Notice whether the patient has a cell phone and use this observation to initiate a discussion of how the parent monitors the child's after school activities.
Helpful Hints

  • Discuss friendships and community activities at the same time you discuss school progress. Simply asking parents, "Who is your child's best friend?" can initiate a discussion between the clinician and the parent in an easy and natural way.
  • Many clinicians also use these discussions in the context of promoting physical activity to prevent obesity and heart disease.

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