When you have kids, you seem to spend a lot of time teaching them lessons. You teach them how to walk, how to talk, how to ride a bike and sometimes, you give them tools that will help set them up for the rest of their lives.
I have a few friends in my life and we have been close for a long time. We can go a while without seeing each other, which happens due to busy lives, but once we re-connect it’s like we had never been apart. I want that for my kids and I also want them to grow and have healthy relationships around them when they’re older — both friendships and romances. It’s not something many think they have to take the time to teach, but teaching your child how to be a good friend will give them the best tools for creating healthy relationships that last long-term.
Tips for Teaching Your Child to be a Good Freind 1 of 9
It's important for them to learn how to be a good friend and with a few tips, it's simple to have them on the right road to healthy, long-term friendships.
Raise Them to Have Good Self-Esteem 2 of 9
I know it may sound hard, but instilling self-esteem in your children will help set them up for the best relationships possible. When it comes to friend relationship, a child with a healthy sense of self and esteem will choose friends who are healthy for them and will avoid those dangerous friendships down the road. Not something you may have to think about now, but according to PBS, "studies by Murray, Holmes, MacDonald and Ellsworth (1998) using Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale to differentiate groups, researchers found that no matter how they adjusted variables, self-esteem colors not only a person's perception of self but impacts expectations of the partner and the tenor of the relationship."
Model How to be a Good Friend 3 of 9
Kids learn so much by watching what we do and how we interact with those around us. Show your child healthy friendships by surrounding yourself with them. Allow them to see you and your friends talk and hang out and avoid those unhealthy friendships for yourself.
Teach Your Child What is a ‘Bad Friend’ 4 of 9
Talk to your child about what you should and shouldn't expect in a friendship. While this discussion is likely more for the older tweens and teens, it doesn't hurt to have a continued conversation from a younger age. Discuss that friendship goes both ways, you should hear encouraging words from your friends and both parties are giving and taking, not just taking.
Treat Others How You Want to be Treated 5 of 9
An oldie, but a goodie -- this saying will go a long way in teaching your child about healthy friendships. If something doesn't feel good to you, you shouldn't do it to someone else. This goes along with friendships as well as any other area of life.
Limit the Judgement 6 of 9
I know it's a little bit human nature to be judgmental but teaching your child to look past things at face value, even when it comes to people can help them build some of the best and healthiest friendships. Look past those strange things your new classmate does and get to know the person. Empathy and a good listening ear are important skills to learn when it comes to friendship.
There Will Be Fallouts 7 of 9
Not all friendships are happy all the time and it's important to have this discussion with your kids. Talk to them about how friends can still get angry with each other, can still go a little while without talking, that this will happen, but it's important to treat them with respect, apologize if you need to or forgive if you have to. Even healthy friendships won't be 100% perfect all the time.
Trust Your Instincts 8 of 9
Teaching your child to trust their instincts will go so far in their life and can have a positive impact on them developing great and healthy friendships. If something just doesn't feel right, they should know that it's okay not to go with the group -- even if they say they're her friend. If their instinct is telling them a certain person is not someone they can trust with their secrets and so on, they should know that it's okay to trust that feeling.
Make Time for Friends 9 of 9
You have to teach and model to your kids that when it comes to friendship, it really does go both ways. If you're the one always calling, reaching out, inviting etc, it doesn't always feel good. Teach your child through reminders and a lot of discussions that making time for your friends means reaching out to them too -- don't always wait for them. Letting your friends in and confiding in them is an important part of friendship, just make sure it's going both ways and you make time for them just as they do for you.
Photo credits: iStockPhoto