Parenting Tips: What Makes a Good Friend?

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I thought about something I taught my kids when they were in elementary school… I used to ask them to cup their hands and put them in front of me. And I said, ‘In your hand is your flame. It’s your soul. It’s your light. You need to surround yourself with friends who, when your light is shining bright, don’t feel the need to blow it out.
— Brene Brown

As a parent, all you want for your child is to be loved and accepted. As effectively as you can create this environment in the home, there are multiple hours a day where your child’s well being is out of your hands. They spend at least 6 hours a day in school, on top of extracurricular activities and in that time are affected by the peers surrounding them. Having a good group of friends is crucial to your child’s development, self esteem, as well as your trust in their well being when they’re away from you. Your home is a safe harbor in the sea of experiences your child is learning to sail.

While you can’t choose who your child becomes friends with, you can encourage them to make friends that are a positive influence on them, friends who support and accept them for who they are. As Brown says, friends who won’t blow out their candle. Here are some tips to help your child find good friends:

 

What Makes a Good Friend?

Talk to your child about the qualities that make a good friend, such as kindness, loyalty, and respect. Encourage them to look for these qualities in the people they interact with. Ask them what they love about themselves; The right friends will see the same things and support who they are.

 

Encourage Shared Activities

Encourage your child to participate in activities and clubs that match their interests. This can be a great way for your child to meet like-minded peers who share similar hobbies or passions. Furthermore, these will be the peers your child spends a lot of time with – extracurriculars are a great way for children to build connections!

 

Encourage Kindness

This may go without saying but encourage your child to be friendly, respectful, and considerate of others. Teach them to be good listeners, to show empathy, and to be supportive of their peers. Often the treatment we give off is the treatment we receive.

 

Check In

Keep an eye on your child’s friendships and make sure they are healthy and positive. If you notice any negative or toxic behaviors, talk to your child about what’s going on. Make sure you are a safe space for them to process any friendships that may not be healthy for them.

 

Finally, engage in and support the friends they make. Invite them over to your house or make an effort to get to know their parents. By knowing your child’s friends better, you can trust more in their positive social connections. You may even make your own friends in the process!

Remember, finding good friends takes time and effort. Encourage your child to be patient and persistent, and to focus on building positive relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. With your support and guidance, your child can develop lasting friendships that will make their candle burn brighter. For more questions, connect with us today!

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