Communication is very important between children and parents at all stages of their growth so that they are open to discussion of the pitfalls along the path of life. Social life is a very important part of our lives. When at the preteen level, a child needs parental guidance and monitoring albeit discreetly, because they start meeting friends and interacting with others on their own.
These friends may not all be the type that you would want your child to associate with. When your child goes out with these friends, you could shop or visit someone nearby so that you can keep an eye on them unobtrusively and are at hand if needed. Do not hesitate to step in if those children are unruly or indulging in unlawful activities or encouraging your child to misbehave in any manner.
A good way would be to introduce your child to well behaved respectable children in the neighbourhood and at school. They could plan a party at your house and you could have them over to discuss the preparation. Do not invite too many children at once as you would want to watch these children individually and judge their behaviour. You would be in a position to know their thoughts and goals in life. It would give you an opportunity to know whether their interest in studies and extracurricular activities matches with your expectations for your child. Check what your child is reading and what sort of conversation he is having on the phone.
Be careful when it comes to internet usage by your preteen. Check which sites he has visited and whether he is secretive about what he is doing on the computer. Predators enter your home through the internet and can misguide and tempt your child into doing wrong things. Educate your child not to give personal details to any one on the net and to check with you if they have any doubts or feel uncomfortable with any contacts.
Television comes right into our living rooms to influence our children showing them weird fashion, gadgets and makeup products. Some freedom has to be given to the young one to try out these things or they might just think the parents are outdated and authoritarian. Parents can show by example how not to go overboard with all this and to take all the advertisement with a pinch of salt.
It may be necessary at times to talk to a disruptive friend’s parents if he is adamant in making things difficult for your child. His parents may not be aware of his doings and may be grateful if you point them out.
You cannot isolate your child but you can warn him about some dangers he could face. At times you may have to discipline him but do so in a way that he realises that you have done so out of love for him. Praise him when possible and keep the channels of communication open. Above all, be a friend to your child.