HomeHealth & BehaviorSocial Skills

Ask the Experts

Help! My Child's Friend Acts Too Grown Up

By Dr. Ruth Jacoby, Educational Consultant


My daughter made a new friend at school and now often tells me about things her friend has told her. I think many of the topics are too sophisticated for second-graders, and I'm worried about the influence this child is having on my daughter. The girls' teacher also expressed concern about this friendship, and told me that my daughter's behavior is different when she is around the other child. They don't misbehave, but the teacher noticed that they try to talk and act like "teenagers." I'm happy that my daughter confides in me about her friends, but I don't know how to handle this. I'd like my daughter to act like a second-grader!


Sit down with your daughter and have a one-on-one discussion. Make sure both of you are focused on this conversation, and that television and phones will not become a distraction. It may be a good idea to go for a walk. Remember, you are the parent. State your concerns about this friendship and the behavior you do not like. Be specific. Explain to her what behaviors you would rather see and talk to her about developing other friendships with girls that share the same family values as yours. You need to discuss the importance of your values and behaviors that you approve of. You also need to chat about not forming behaviors that are inappropriate, regardless of what others are doing. Express the fact that she is responsible for her behavior and its positive or negative consequences in her life. End the conversation with the reassurance that you know she can learn to make better decisions about her behavioral choices and you are glad that she is your daughter.

Dr. Ruth Jacoby has been involved in education for more than 30 years as an educator, principal and currently as an educational consultant in Florida. She is the co-author of the School Talk! Success Series including Parent Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication With the School and Your Child, Homework Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication About Your Child's Homework and Test Talk!: Understanding the Stakes and Helping Your Children Do Their Best.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.