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How to help your kids choose the right barkada

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Here's what parents can learn about helping their kids choose the right circle of friends, who'll be good influences instead of leading them astray

Do you still remember what life was like when you were a teenager? No matter what your personality was, chances are you longed to belong, to be a part of a barkada who not only shared your interests, but had your back at all times. What if your barkada ganged up and hurt someone? Would you go along with it or would you be the voice of reason?

The recent mauling and death of a young 28-year-old OFW by students in Quezon City sheds light on the dangers of falling into the crowd.

According to an Inquirer report, the fatal brawl took place in a parking lot along Scout Dr. Lazcano Street in Barangay Sacred Heart. Witnesses placed the victim, identified as Abigail Gino Basas, and suspects at Perfect Spot Bar and Billiards. As of this writing, the police have reached out to both National University and University of the East in Manila, where they believe the suspects are currently studying.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) have identified the suspects based on CCTV footage, which showed the victim was in the billiards area at 2:44 a.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2017. He walked away smiling as one of the suspects, identified as Frits Mohammed, followed him. Based on the footage, the suspect seemed drunk and upset. He later called his friends to the parking lot, where they ganged up on Basas and two of his friends, hitting and kicking until they fell. The autopsy found that Basas died due to a broken blood vessel, which caused a hematoma (blood clot) to form.

Basas was working as a cruise ship photographer in Australia. He was in Manila on vacation. In an interview with the Inquirer, his dad Agapito described him as a good son.

"I hope the suspects will surrender. He was a good son. I hope justice will be served," he told the Inquirer.

How to help your kids choose the right barkada

Discuss what a true friend is

Before you put limitations on who they can be friends with. First, assess what your child thinks friendship means. What is a good friend? Is he or she someone who makes you feel good? Is he or she someone who doesn't mock you or someone you can truly trust?

Therapist Gary Lundberg and writer Joy Lundberg, in an article on Family Share, suggest that parents can try writing their discussion points on paper so your kid can see and truly reflect on their answers.  Remind them that a true friend is someone who will respect who they are.

Listen and don't judge

Ask them about their current barkada, but don't judge too quickly. Don't stereotype kids as lazy or disrespectful. Get the whole story from your kids. After all, they know them best.

Look for signs of bullying, too. Often, kids can't determine if they're being bullied because of an intense pressure to belong. According to Psychology Today, bullying often happens when a young person lacks social support, most often due to poor social skills. Even if the bullied kid is consistently excluded and made to feel unwanted, they often keep trying to win their bullies over.

Teach them to be a good friend

Though it's important to be kind to all, it's also important for parents to caution their kids to stay away from a group of friends who will influence you to do the wrong things. This may sound simple enough, but often, it's difficult for young people to tell if someone is a bad influence or not.

Teach them to pay attention to the little things

If a group of kids are well-liked in school, chances are many other kids will be drawn to their barkada. Teach your kid the difference between being liked and truly kind. Does this popular group of kids mock others or crack jokes that are lewd? It's the little hints that will tell you if you truly want to be a part of their group. Sometimes, all it takes is paying close attention.

Having good friends in school helps kids learn and develop well, so parents should prioritize this also, aside from their kid's study habits and academic performance.

READ: Research finds that parents don’t know they come off as negative to teens

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