As adults we are well aware of the different types of friendships that form part of our lives. We have those that are very close friends and confidants and those who are more just acquaintances. We know which we can rely on when in need and those who we cannot see for years but still happily converse with when we next meet. We learn through experience how to deal with the unique personalities and quirks of each different friend.
Our children however, take time to acquire those same skills and often find the whole friendship deal to be filled with angst. Some find it easy to make friends while others struggle and feel alone. Some may have one true friend and not seem to want to seek out others whereas some would rather have a string of not so close friends.
Dealing with the friendship issues your child may have is sometimes quite heart wrenching as you only wish your child to be happy. Their self-esteem can be damaged if they feel they are not liked. Raising Children Network helps with tips you can employ to help your child develop meaningful friendships or put them into perspective. Here are some of the things they suggest:
- Encourage friendships – even if you don’t particularly care for the friend yourself
- Join activities aside from those at school to have your child meet new peers
- Teach your child how to deal better with conflicts so they do not get so anxious about things
- Tell your child that he or she doesn’t have to be the most popular, that one true friend can be worth many fickle ones
- Be attuned to moods and sadness in case the reason is a deeper or more troubling issue
- Speak openly and honestly about your friendships so your child can see it is not always easy sailing
- Unhealthy friendships which may encourage bad behaviour need to be dealt with carefully so as not to ostracise your child
Friendships can be long lasting or fleeting, yet each has its place in shaping who we are.