How do you help your child to make worthy friends? Here are some tips for guiding your child’s ability to form healthy and lasting relationships with his/her peers.
Your role in your kid’s friendships is one of the most awkward aspects of parenthood. However, the truth is, friendship is one of the most important areas in your child’s development. Through friendship, children learn to share, solve misunderstandings, and compromise with other people. Nevertheless, friendship has its ups and downs. For instance, your child might feel hurt by friends or they may just have trouble making good friends, and that’s where you come in. Here are five tips to help you teach the child about friendship.
1. Show Them How You Make Friends
Seeing you make friends is your kid’s first lesson on how to do the same. It follows the philosophy that children find it easy to learn from their role models. As your child’s role model, they will be willing to take after you. Therefore, try having your child help you bring food or flowers to a sick neighbor. This way, you’ll be teaching them one of the most valuable lessons in friendship – empathy.
2. Be Welcoming to Your Kid’s Friends
Invite your child’s over to play. Make sure that you have some activities in mind, as young children need direction. Such activities could include hide and seek, playing the piano or making cookies, depending on their interests.
Even as your child gets older, encourage them to have friends over. As a matter of fact, welcoming your child’s friends is a sure way to help them feel comfortable making friends. Then again, your kid will try as much as possible to associate with nice kids, as they will want you to feel proud when they bring these friends home.
3. Help Your Kid Work through Friendship Hardships
As much as your child benefits from making friends, there will certainly be trouble at least once in a while. For instance, your child could feel unappreciated by friends, or they may quarrel about something like a toy. The way your child perceives her friend’s behavior determines her feelings about the whole situation, and in this regard, she may feel sad, angry or okay. Although you should not dictate how your kid reacts, you may want to point it out to her that there are always two sides to a coin. You could also encourage her to invite the friend over and try to work it out.
4. Offer a Substitute to Recognition
As kids grow older, they become sensitive to how others perceive them. Therefore, if your kid is not part of a popular crowd, they may feel rejected, and this could escalate to depression. Although you can’t entirely make your child ignore the feeling of wanting to be part of something, you could tell them stories of unpopular kids who grew to be very successful. For instance, you could tell them about Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato, both of who used to be unpopular in school.
5. Watch Out for Signs of Bullying
Kids love to tease each other as part of play, but as they grow into teenagers, this teasing can be quite harmful. This is because it can make some children lose their self-esteem.
You can assist your kid to understand how his actions or words might hurt other childrens’ feelings. Let them know that it’s wrong to treat others poorly or to let themselves get treated unfairly. In case another kid hits or threatens your child, be sure to contact his parents regarding the issue. However, don’t focus on having him punished, but rather try to reconcile the kids and outline to them why it’s wrong to treat one’s friends badly.
Are you aware of other ways in which you can teach your child about friendship?
About the Author: Jennifer is the founder and editor of the blog: The Mama Needs. She is a stay at home mother of six children (soon to be seven!) and writes about experiences with pregnancy, raising kids, and nutrition. She says “I love that blogging brings parents together and lets our readers know they’re not the only ones going through these experiences. I love seeing comments on my posts that say ‘I thought it was just me! I’m so glad it’s not!’ Being a parent is hard, but friends and blogs really help.”