Kids Normal

How to Tactfully Tell a Friend Their Kid Is Bad

Telling your friend their child is annoying is not easy, since it’s not your kid. You may not have full rights to do that. But sometimes, the kid’s annoyance can push you to the limit. 

Annoyance, just like anger, is a strong emotion. Therefore, you should understand the complexity and sensitivity of addressing issues concerning a friend’s child. Don’t let your emotions make you address the issue wrongly because it can lead to severe consequences like losing your friend.

Instead, be honest and supportive with your friend concerning their child’s behavior. This will reinforce your friendship because you’ll be helping them carefully call out their kid rather than criticizing them about it.

In this article, we will discuss with you how to tactfully tell your friend that their kid is bad. We hope it helps.

Understanding the Need for Tact

Tact is the virtue of skillfully maintaining sensitivity in difficult situations. Having it will ensure that you are empathetic, respectful, and sensitive while addressing your friend’s child’s behavior.

Obviously, your friend deeply loves and cares about their child. Therefore, when you are bringing up the discussion about your friend’s child, address sensitive topics appropriately. Don’t assume that they don’t care about their child by harshly criticizing them or their child. Also, mind your friend’s feelings and beliefs; although some may sound absurd, remain understanding. In case you still disagree, bring up the matter calmly and reasonably.

Realize that people have different parenting methods based on the way they grew up, their beliefs, and sometimes even their traumas. Once you understand your friend’s way of parenting, then you’ll understand where the error may be and how you can address it.

If you poorly handle the discussion with your friend, it might lead to violent disagreements, loss of your friendship, and unnecessary hate between you and your friend. 

Assessing the Situation

In assessing the situation, you should look at why you feel the need to bring up the issue. Is it impacting you directly, or is it a matter of safety or well-being? Sometimes what you see as bad behavior could just be a label you gave something that wasn’t familiar to you as good behavior. You need to start by self-reflection to truly label your friend’s child’s behavior as bad.

If it’s truly bad behavior even after self-reflection, then you should address it. If it’s a pattern of behavior then address it as soon as possible, before you find yourself having an outburst for when you finally reach your tolerance limit. 

If your friend’s child’s behavior has happened isolatedly, give it some time to notice any repetition. If there isn’t any, it could be that your friend has already disciplined their child after the first instance, or the child later learned that their behavior is wrong. However, when it happens for a second time, then you can bring it up with your friend.

Choosing the Right Time and Place

Once you have correctly assessed the situation, you can now bring up the matter of your friend’s child’s behavior to them. Select a comfortable place to tell this information to them, since it’s important for your friend to be calm so that you can both be reasonable. The particular place should be private or offer privacy if it’s a public spot.

We recommend a private setting since it will enable you to discuss without barriers such as street noise. Also, avoid places where you might bump into other friends in the middle of your discussion. This is because you should speak freely without unwanted interruptions, especially from people. After all, they don’t need to know what you’re talking about. It may embarrass your friend and may make them avoid the conversation whenever you ask to continue it.

Choose a time that will suit both you and your friend, preferably when you’re both calm and done with any pending activities like your jobs or studies. Any lingering thoughts or tasks will make the conversation go quickly and not be worthwhile, hence the issue won’t be addressed properly.

Communication Techniques

When communicating, use “I” Statements to frame concerns from your perspective. That way, you’ll avoid sounding accusatory. You’ll also sound less critical of your friend’s child and parenting, and more suggestive. Once you communicate this way, you will make your talk peaceful and informative on both sides. Remember that since you’re the one bringing up this delicate issue, you have a responsibility to set the conversation’s ground to be peaceful and amicable. As we mentioned earlier, be tactful. Avoid attacking your friend.

You should also be specific and objective. This means that you should use specific examples rather than generalizations. Generalizations paint your friend to be a bad parent because of a few instances, which can be highly offensive and cause disagreements between you two.

After pointing out the instance to them, express your concern, not judgment. Judging your friend can sound like you are questioning their parenting rather than focusing on what concerns you. Just focus on your concern politely and respectfully, and your friend will definitely make things better for you if they care about your comfort around them.

Offer Support and Solutions

After communicating your concerns to your friend, suggest ways to help or support them in addressing the child’s behavior. There are various ways of disciplining children other than the traditional whooping (that may also work based on your friend’s beliefs), such as time outs or taking away their favorite things. Advise your friend to start with gentle parenting, which is politely explaining to their child why what they were doing was wrong. If this doesn’t work, then they should take up more strict disciplinary ways. There is no need for your friend to immediately be harsh on their kid before trying gentler ways of correcting them. It can traumatize their child. 

Carefully using these ways can positively put your friend’s child in line to make them well-behaved.

In some cases, your friend might have tried different ways of disciplining their child but they haven’t worked, maybe because of an underlying cause such as mental disorders like autism, ADHD, or trauma. Recommend professional resources if appropriate, such as parenting classes, therapy, or counseling to help them deal with this. You might have just helped them uncover a serious condition in their kid, and you may have taken them out of ignorance by showing them medical and scientific ways of caring for their child’s well-being.

Respecting Boundaries

You need to understand the decisions and methods your friend is using when parenting. It will enable you to see your friend’s point of view and reason with them. Once you understand their parenting methods, you can come up with fitting supplementary methods that can complement your friend’s. 

Of course, as you do this, realize the obvious boundaries you shouldn’t cross. Even when something doesn’t seem too serious to you, once your friend expresses that you shouldn’t do that, stop it. Realize that they’re only doing what a parent is supposed to do, and that is to protect their child.

Don’t be overly critical of your friend’s child and parenting lest you go past their boundaries and offend them. Remember to be understanding and know your lane. Also, avoid having the conversation when you’re too emotional because you can cross their boundaries too.

If your friend takes your suggestions negatively, don’t force it on them. Leave it alone so that they have time to rethink about it. This will be respectful of their boundaries.

Maintaining the Friendship

Just because you’ve communicated an issue with your friend’s child, doesn’t mean that your bond should be destroyed. You can offer strategies for continuing to support and engage with your friend regardless of their reaction. Lay it out to them after reaching out to them after the incident.

One way you can get closer is by not talking about the issue frequently. It may show that it still bothers you and may end up affecting the continuity of your friendship. Sometimes it’s even better to put the whole situation behind you. Other ways of maintaining your friendship are going out on friendship dates, making calls to each other, and having your normal funny conversations together. 

Whenever you’ll be around your friend’s child, avoid acting awkward around the child. Show love to their child so that your friend doesn’t feel like their child is an outcast around you. Focus on the positive times you’ve had with you and your friend’s child for the situation of your friend’s child’s bad behavior to be put completely behind you all.


We hope that this article has helped you figure out a way in which you can let your friend know that their child is badly behaved. Take note of our key takeaways such as being supportive, respecting their boundaries, and communicating at the right place and time. There may be an underlying reason why your friend isn’t noticing their child’s behavior, so empathy should be always present in your conversation.

Set aside any negative feelings so that you avoid unnecessary outbursts or drama that may harm your friendship. To calm down, simply take some breaths and remember to prioritize your friendship and the child’s well-being. With our tips, you can be sure that you will handle this situation carefully and supportively.

Vincent Otieno

Vincent Otieno is a passionate jewelry enthusiast and writer at Getnamenecklace, an e-commerce store dedicated to offering exquisite jewelry and thoughtful gifts for your loved ones. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the art of gift-giving, Vincent curates a collection that celebrates the beauty of craftsmanship and the joy of making family moments unforgettable.

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