Like most parents, John and I are very choosy about who our children spend time with (and how). Over the years we have learned a few things that have affected our decision making:
1) There are some people that are dangerous. They hurt people with their bodies or their words. They manipulate. They break the law. These people will not spend any time with my kids. Period. I don't apologize for this.
2) There are some people who aren't great at relationships. I don't need to tell my kids this or try to shape their opinions of these people. These people are faulty in a way that will not damage anything but their relationships with the kids, if they don't try and mend it. Kids are intuitive and realize these faults and more often than not, love people regardless and still hope for the best.
3) Influencers. Anyone who is not on the same page as us on a major issue and is an influencer will get limited and controlled time with my kids. For instance, the kid down the street who has free reign online and carries a tablet with him, and is ever trying to convince my kids to do things they should not do. This friend will not be playing with my kids when the tablet is out, or I am not present. I prefer both.
4) Go with your gut. I can honestly say that every time I have gone against my instincts, I have regretted it greatly. Sometimes what happens is small and easily handled and sometimes it turns out to be tragic. Either way, I knew better and for whatever reason, did nothing about it. This one can get sticky. Most people trust what THEY feel and 'know' more than your instincts. But it is never worth it to go against your instincts when it comes to your kids, even if you do end up in awkward conversations or situations.