Education Matters

Boys and influences: what to do when friendships turn toxic

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on May 22, 2017 6:00:00 AM

Boys and influences: what to do when friendships turn toxicBoys, like girls, can be easily influenced, both positively and negatively. They take advice and direction from those they admire. Parents often ask;

Are my son’s friends leading him astray? Are they a good or bad influence for my son?

Trying to keep your son away from negative influences can sometimes be a tough job. Boys may sometimes find themselves drawn to a crowd that has louder, stronger and at times disrespectful tendencies. Or it may be that a close friendship turns problematic. If this happens, you may be rightly concerned about your son.

Below we offer our top tips regarding boys and influences: what to do when friendships turn toxic.

1. Ask him, ‘what is a real friend?’
Real friends support and encourage you to be the best you can be. They accept you for who you are – the good and the bad. Encourage your son to discover who his ‘real’ friends are. You must also remind your son to be a ‘real’ friend.

2. Provide strong role models
Encourage your son to spend time with strong role models – those who model healthy friendships. These may be within your local community, at out-of-school activities, with siblings and with you. Show your son how to be a good friend by talking about your relationships with your friends.

3. Teach your son good manners
If you teach your son good manners, and gently remind him about his manners on a regular basis, they will hopefully become ingrained. He will then be aware when he, or others, are being disrespectful.

4. Encourage open dialogue
Encourage your son to talk about issues as they arise. Ensure he is aware that your home is a safe place to discuss friendship issues and that he can trust you to keep the discussions confidential. This will allow you to keep tabs on what is happening in your son’s life and provide you with opportunities to offer advice and encourage appropriate behaviour.

5. Encourage diversity
Rather than always gravitating to the same people, encourage your son to meet and spend time with a diverse group of people. The world is made of a diverse range of people and the more he learns when he is young, the broader his perspective will be in the future.

6. Encourage smart friendship decisions
Teach your son the importance of making smart friendship decisions. It is not a smart decision to sit with the class clown during class time. Yes, they can be friends, however that friendship may be better suited to the playground.

7. Step in when needed
If you see that a friendship is becoming toxic and your son is not handling the situation, don’t hesitate to step in. He may need your support in pulling back from the relationship. This may be a time to keep your son occupied with other activities, fill his life with a new hobby, discuss Christian values or enjoy a family holiday. Time away from the situation may be all he needs to realise its negative impact.

8. Seek outside advice and support
If you are concerned about your son’s friendship groups, don’t be afraid to consult his teachers – they may be able to provide a different perspective. If however you are concerned about your son’s mental wellbeing and it is impacting on his ability to interact with his world in an appropriate way seek a professional opinion.

Trinity is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, and we pride ourselves on knowing, understanding and nurturing every student. The Counselling Department at Trinity is staffed by registered psychologists who welcome contact from anyone in our parent community wanting to discuss concerns relating to their children.

To learn more about the Trinity difference and how we help boys to realise their potential, passions and purpose in life, register for our Open Day:

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Topics: Parenting tips, Fathering, Bullying, Raising boys, Adolescence, Pastoral care, Mental health