One of the many benefits of being a parent or grandparent is that you can learn – or re-learn – all kinds of new skills you think are only for the kids but they end up helping you, too.
There is a lot of advice out there. I like the simplicity and thoughtfulness of advice from expert Mary Jo Rapini and thought I'd share it. As I read through it I saw so many similarities in how child bullies behave with how adult bullies behave. If you read these signs and advice through the lens of an adult in at work, in the PTA, in our own families and friendships, you see clearly what happens to some of these children when they group up. They become adult bullies.
Getting Our Kids and Ourselves out of Abusive Friendships
So, in the name of prevention, I offer these tips from Mary Jo Rapini, a licensed psychotherapist, who writes regularly about these issues. My hope is that by identifying these patterns and discussing the solutions with our children, we can also do the same for ourselves. To read more, check out her website.
"10 Tips your child or grandchild may be involved with a toxic friend:
1. If your child becomes totally obsessed with pleasing this friend, there is a good chance the power balance has shifted and your child is being used.
2. If your child's friend treats their parent or any adult with disdain, pay attention. This is not a good sign as they have issues with authority.
3. Your child's new friend doesn't abide by your child's rules. For example, if you tell your child no communicating after 9 p.m. and this friend continually calls or texts, saying rules are stupid or for little kids, this is not a friendship you want to nurture.
4. Your child is teased or belittled in any way by this friend.
5. The friend tries to get your child to act rude or disobedient at school.
6. The friend wants to keep secrets all the time.
7. Your child's friend is rude in public. All kids make mistakes, but if you notice this kid is a brat in public, can you imagine what is going on in their home?
8. Your child's friend picks on "lesser people" or has a bully attitude.
9. Your child's new friend has angry outbursts.
10. Your child begins acting out, swearing, and acting belligerent or indignant (unless someone is modeling that behavior in your home).
5 Tips on how to help your children break free of toxic or abusive friendships:
In future posts I will share more expert advice and excellent resources on how to manage difficult friendships.