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Teach Your Child How to Form Positive Friendships

Throughout the childrearing years, friends are among the most important people in a child’s life. Many children are formed by the friendships they create throughout their lives, in fact researchers say that children who do not share close bonds throughout their adolescent years may become depressed and harbor feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem. Yet, the truth remains that children can form both positive and negative friendships.

Therefore it is imperative that children learn not only how to have friends throughout their childrearing years, but how to form positive friendships with their peers. As parents there are a number of ways we can help our children obtain positive friendships.

Preschoolers
Most preschoolers learn how to act and react in relationships by watching their family and siblings Einteractions. The preschool years are among the most important years for development, children could benefit from their parents and siblings showing a great interest in one another. Listening, smiling and acknowledging another’s conversation or concerns are a great start. This shows youngsters how important another’s feelings are and the importance of showing concern for them. These are also great years to show how important it is to share, you can provide a sharing time for you and your family where everyone gets together as a group and shares something (a story or favorite toy) with another family member.

It is also important for parents to provide venues for their children to meet and make friends at this level, such as the park or other supervised play areas where children can meet others their age. Or schedule a “Play Date Ewith children who are close to your child’s age, you can do this with other parents you know, family members, or neighbors. This will offer experience and an opportunity for your child to learn the social and interaction skills needed throughout their school years.
 
Main points to address:

  • Teach by example by being a good listener to your child and other family members.
  • Organize a “Play Date Ewith other children who are close to your child’s age.
  • Schedule a family sharing time, which will teach youngsters the importance of sharing.

Grades K-3rd
Once your child is in school finding children for them to form a positive friendship will be much easier with so many classmates. But there are still ways for your child to create more secure friendships with those who share the same personalities or similar interests.

Allow your child to join a club, do sports or other extra curricular activities that would interest him/her the most. In their local school district there might be a girl club, that provides crafts and other fun events tailored just for girls. These kind of clubs and organizations will narrow down the friends that would meet your child’s needs.

You can also get them involved in area events, outside of school, that provide activities your child might be interested in.

Main points to address:

  • Encourage them to join clubs of interest in school.
  • Provide them with a list of characteristics of a good friend (see list below).
  • Allow them to get involved in community events that interest them.

Grades 4th-6th
Throughout the school years most children have made a number of friends and two or three very close friends. Perhaps your child who is this age may need some pointers on how to keep a positive relationship. Good friends have many qualities, but the most important are those listed below.

Main points to address:

  • Offer support when needed.
  • Are kind to their friends.
  • Are the first one to show up at a gathering and the last one to go home.
  • Laugh at each other’s jokes and are fun to be around.
  • Have a smile on their face when their friend comes around.
  • Are always willing to share.
  • Offer to help their friend.
  • Invite their friend to do something together.
  • Show an interest in what their friends do.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Character.

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