Children are constantly developing and changing. The way they interact with others and how their attitudes reflect on their behaviors will also change as they grow older. Friends are an important part of all children’s beginning stages, and will shape the way they think for the rest of their lives. Although they may not be friends with the same people when they grow older, it’s important to consider how children negotiate these initial friendships and what it means when they’re unable to hold on to them. As a parent, it’s important to understand how your child and their friends interact with one another, and what you can do to help a friendship that’s not going well.
Really Get to Know Your Child’s Friends
Get to know your children’s friends — even (and especially) the ones you don’t like. Maybe you are being overly critical of the boy next door who when he comes over and doesn’t seem very clean. Then again, another friend of your child’s who may be well mannered could end up being a negative influence on them. It’s all a matter of perspective and unique circumstances, but being aware and interacting with your child’s friends will help give you a better understanding of their social circles. Children pick and choose friends they can have an enjoyable time with, so take a step back and get the bigger picture before you jump in and try to influence things.
Respect Your Child’s Personality
Remembering that children also interact differently is crucial as well. They are constantly fighting, laughing, and changing social circles as they grow older. Just because your child may be having a hard time finding good friends doesn’t necessarily mean they are anti-social — it may just mean that they have a unique personality and want to find friends whom they can easily relate to. Far too often, parents take their child’s lack of a social circle as a sign of reclusiveness. They then begin to worry, and constantly overthink how their child is behaving. Try to be circumspect and avoid jumping to conclusions based on worries that may or may not be true.