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Encourage Your Child to Choose Friends Wisely

Preventing dating abuse begins with teaching your child ways to develop healthy, respectful relationships with others. This includes siblings, neighbors, and friends. As kids grow older, friends become more important. They can even influence your child's values and actions—including how to behave and what to think about dating.

If kids surround themselves with friends that respect others, they too will likely choose to be respectful. Likewise, if kids surround themselves with friends who choose to lie or threaten others, they too will likely choose to lie or threaten others. Encourage your child to be careful about the friends whom he/she chooses—in the neighborhood, at school, and online. Go over the qualities that your child should seek in a friend, such as honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, and kindness, and why these are important to have in healthy, respectful relationships.

Help your child choose respect by talking about the need for cooperation and the importance of respecting others' rights. Help your child establish healthy relationship patterns by discussing together the qualities that are important in a friend.

True or False? A friend is someone who ______

1) T/F is honest
2) T/F shares his/her feelings
3) T/F always has to have his/her way
4) T/F accepts you for who you are
5) T/F listens to what you have to say
6) T/F you like to spend time with

Answers: 1)T; 2)T; 3)F; 4)T; 5)T; 6)T