Friendship is of great importance for the wellbeing and development of school-age children. Studies have noted that children who are absent of friends can suffer from mental and emotional difficulties later in life. Having a friend provides children with more than just happy times with a companion. Friendship enables children to develop emotionally and ethically. As children interact with friends they learn problem solving skills, social skills, how to share and communicate with others. Friendship allows them to work through difficult circumstances that may arise with their friends. They learn how to control their emotions and how to respond to the emotions of others. Having friends is said to influence children’s school performance, as they tend to have an improved approach to learn when they have friends. Therefore it is safe to say that having friends has many benefits for school-age children.
What can we do to help our children make friends?
As parents we play a very important part in our child’s development. Children are not born with social-skills and so we must take an active part in teaching them to interact positively with their peers. The following tips will enable your child to develop the necessary skills of trust and self-confidence necessary to go out and make friends.
- Teach your child to learn games and sports.
- Set clear rules for suitable behaviour.
- Provide your child with the occasion to encounter and spend time with other children.
- Help your child learn to listen to others and see their point of view.
- Help your child to problem solve and manage their destructive emotions.
The most important thing we can do for our children is to develop a loving, accepting and respectful relationship with them. This caring environment sets the stage for future relationships, including friendships.