If your older child has a friend who you think is a bad influence, limit how much time they can spend with this person, says Nancy Darling, PhD, a psychology professor at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. “Set it up so it’s difficult to spend time with them,” Darling says.

Don’t judge older kids by their behavior when they were much younger. Just because someone was a bully or a biter when they were 5 doesn’t make them a bad teen.

“Kids can change and we have long memories as parents,” Short says.

One bad play date does not a bad kid or doomed friendship make. We all have off days, and you should not consider yourself an expert on any child based on one afternoon.

However, if you notice consistent issues over a period of time, then that may be a pattern that deserves more consideration.

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