Building Healthy Friendships

Home & Family, Kids
on October 7, 2007

Childhood friendships are an important part of growth and development, and they set the stage for relationships later in life. Here are five ways to help your child build healthy friendships:

  • Take the time to talk to any children your child becomes friends with. Ask them about their hobbies and interests. How do they like school? What is their family like? You’ll get a glimpse of their general attitude and behavior. Children who are respectful to you will most likely act the same toward your child.
  • Get the addresses and phone numbers of your child’s friends and touch base with their parents. A quick phone call to say hello is appropriate and will set the tone for any future communication. It is especially important to talk to, or, preferably, meet the parents before allowing your child to visit or spend the night. You should feel comfortable with any such arrangements.
  • Be conscious of your child’s relationship with his or her friend. Observe how the children interact. Don’t stand back if either child is relating in a mean-spirited or abusive manner. Act as a mediator if fights occur, and make sure proper apologies are given.
  • Review and enforce family rules. If you don’t have any clearly definable rules, this is the time to create them. Rules should include guidelines for appropriate behavior, activities and language. Make it clear that bad behavior will not be tolerated, follow through on consequences and don’t hesitate to cut short playtime if behavior is unacceptable.
  • Parents are the most important influence in a child’s life. Raising children to be respectful of other’s feelings is key, as is instilling in them appropriate standards of behavior.
Found in: Home & Family, Kids