Q. My 12-year-old son is really shy and just started a new school. A coworker's son goes there. Would it be okay if I invited him over?
A. Go ahead, but be careful not to go overboard trying to be the perfect parent or forcing your son to adopt a fake persona. And don't kiss up to the other kid by taking them to an arcade an hour away from home, either. Tell your child that you don't expect them to be best friends after this one visit, and that if it doesn't go well, he doesn't have to do it again. You don't want to put too much pressure on him. Instead, give him the opportunity and freedom to make friends on his terms.
Originally published in the September 2006 issue of Family Circle magazine.