Friendships for Life
Friendships are an important part of your children’s life. As a parent, knowing who your children’s friends are will help you encourage and discourage relationships in their best interest. Conversations about friends and relationships give you an opportunity to discover who their friends are and how their friends may be influencing them.
TIP: Listen carefully: If they would invite a friend, they feel friendship is important.
If they would invite a family member, they feel family is important.
If they would invite a famous person, consider the character of that person and ask your child why they would like to invite them.
TIP: Listen to the adventure your child describes. Best friends can change over time and it is always good to know with whom your children want to spend time.
After they share their story, share a story from your childhood about an adventure with a friend and tell them how that friendship made you feel.
Your children will develop friendship as they have seen you develop them. By sharing fond childhood memories of friendship, you encourage the same for your children.
How do you know someone is your friend?
TIP: Listen to how they define friendship. Healthy friendships benefit both people. So, listen for clues as to how your child identifies people as friends.
For example: If your child describes a friend as someone who shares their toys, then that suggests they have a healthy relationship.
If your child describes a friend as someone who likes to spend time doing the things they both like to do, then, again, this is evidence of healthy friends.
Children who learn to cultivate and maintain healthy friendships and relationships will become adults who cultivate and maintain healthy friendships and relationships. You, as the parent, know best and can encourage those friendships and relationships that are in the best interest of your child.