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What to Do When a First-Grader Chooses Bad Friends


My 6- year-old son started first grade recently and is making bad choices when it comes to his friends. He’s started cursing because his new “friends” curse. How can we help him make good choices?



Start by giving your son consequences like time-out or losing certain privileges if he curses or uses other inappropriate behaviors at home. Then talk to your son’s teacher about a plan of action for when he ​displays unacceptable behaviors at school. Part of the plan may include:

  1. Having the teacher send home a daily note about his behavior (positive and negative) and any consequences he received.
  2. Giving him a consequence at home if he received one at school .
  3. Asking the teacher to have your son sit apart from negative peers and near the teacher in the classroom. 

If your son is very energetic, make sure he is gets a lot of time to burn off that energy after school. Working hard to stay on task all day can be extremely tiring for little ones. He may not look tired when he is running around, but his mind is. Also try helping him practice good behavior at home. He'll probably think it is silly, but that's okay. For example, help him practice standing quietly in line and show him how to ignore others when they start talking. Role-plays like this will teach him how to use good behaviors and avoid bad ones.