FRIENDS make the world a better place

Making and having friends is a true blessing. Friendships come and go throughout life but there are those rare few that last. The ones that stand the test of time and distance. You can go long periods without speaking to one another and just pick up as if no time has passed. Those are the great ones, for sure. But, even the friendships that we make which don’t endure are just as important. They develop us socially and emotionally in such a profound way. Making us who we are, how we interact with others and how we view the world around us. I’ve definitely been impacted by my friendships- ones that I’ve made and lost, and those that I still have. I never realized the importance of these relationships until I had my own children.

identifying the differences
My sons, as I have mentioned in a past article (see GOOD MORNING! blog), are definitely opposites. My youngest takes after his father (the extrovert) and my oldest is a lot like me (the introvert). My youngest “has never met a stranger” and has multiple friends wherever we live; while his older brother tends to be a bit of a loner until he is comfortable, and usually has only one or two close friends. I have come to realize that children are unique with their approach in making friends and that neither way is wrong, just different. Both of them also have their own way in which they interact with their friends. The younger will do things in groups and is always asking to have a sleepover or go spend the night at a friend’s house. I’ve even made the mistake of allowing 5 boys to stay over, at one time…never again! His brother is more of a talk-on-the-phone, see-you-at-school kind of friend. He likes his alone time and is definitely an introvert (like his mama ;)). It is a relief that my sons are able to make their own friends, in their own way.

the importance of friendships
Having friends is very important in the development of a child. When kids are able to create friendships early on in life, it helps them become well-rounded adults later on. Children are able to feel good about themselves since it shows them that others value them as people. This in turn, helps build their confidence and self-esteem. Friendships also help children adapt more easily to early childhood environments. Seeing how other kids react in certain situations and bonding with one another in the process will be of great benefit to them as they grow up and are exposed to new people and experiences in life.

talk to your kids about what being a good friend is all about
In addition to teaching our kids age-appropriate social skills, they need to learn examples of what makes a true friend. You can speak with them about how good friends help each other out, how they listen to one another, are kind to one another, and are empathetic during hard times.

talk to your kids about what makes someone not a true friend
As important as it is to encourage your kids to be good friends to others. Kids also need to be aware of the signs of someone who is not a true friend. True friends will not make fun of their friends, talk behind their backs, and will not purposely leave their friends out, and make them feel bad about themselves. We also need to stress to our kids that they should never do those things to their friends and make them realize that if their friends are treating them badly, then they are not true friends. They should feel reassured that they can stop being friends with those who are mean to them.

set the best example
We need to make sure that, as their parent, we are also setting the best example of what it means to be a good friend. If our kids see us being kind and respectful to those we consider our friends, this will further influence how they are with their friends, and others in general. Talk to your kids about your own friends, and avoid speaking negatively about them to or in the presence of your children- even if you are angry with someone at the moment. You want to set a good example for your kids by treating your friends well and saying nice things about them.

Having said that, if a friend of yours upsets you, you can talk to your kids about why you are upset with your friend. They will realize that although their friends will make mistakes that may upset them, they can see that a good friend, will apologize for their mistake, and should be forgiven for that. Our children look up to us and take note of what we do and say. We definitely need to be mindful of this! Teaching our children to be good and understanding friends will help them contribute to making the world a better place.

books about friendship
How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them (Dino Life Guides for Families) by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown is a great book that goes into detail about ways to make friends and gives examples of situations that help teach how to be a good friend. My Friend is Sad (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems will help kids understand how to be an empathetic friend. The Things I Love About Friends by Trace Moroney is an adorable board book that depicts friendship through the eyes of a young bunny.

coloring fun
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.


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