Teaching your child to be a good friend #AtoZChallenge

FToday on the A to Z Challenge we are up to the letter F. Since this lands on a day that I typically talk about parenting, I decided to post about teaching your child to be a good friend.

Learning to be a good friend is an important life skill to master. Children do not automatically know how to be a friend. Typically, many little kids are all about pleasing themselves and not worried about others. Being a good friend is not a skill that they will just pick up from hanging out with other children on the playground. It has to be taught. The best way is to set a good example yourself.

What I have always told my kids is that you need to treat others as you would like to be treated. This means you do kind things for them and use kind language. You don’t tell your friends what to do. You don’t ignore them. You don’t want to hurt their feelings.

friendsLexie (at age 4) was heartbroken one day when one of her friends (who is older than her by two years) decided to have a play date with some friends and didn’t invite Lexie. It was hard to explain to Lexie that her friend wanted to spend time with girls her own age.

But I use this example for the kids to not talk about events in front of friends unless they are planning to invite them too. As an adult, if you talk to your co-workers about the upcoming birthday party for your husband, they might expect an invitation, especially if they know him. But if you are talking about your upcoming family reunion, they probably won’t.

Kids can’t always make these distinctions. Sometimes when Lexie hears about other events, she tries to invite herself. I have to explain that she can’t be included in everything. You have to let your friends spend time with other friends.

As I watch Lexie navigate this area, it is sometimes hard to know when to step in and offer advice and when to let her figure it out on her own. It is difficult to watch your kids get hurt by their friends but dealing with conflict and problems in a friendship is inevitable. There will be heartache. Friends are not always easy.

Even Jase who is polite and thoughtful is going to slip up sometimes. Kids don’t always realize that what they say and do affect others. Often when Jase is teasing his sister, I remind him to think about how he would feel if she or someone else was treating him that way.

I am glad my kids have friends in the neighborhood that they can walk to school with and look forward to playing with. And I don’t know how long these friendships will last as kids’ interests will change and develop over the next few years which could cause them to grow apart. But these are their first friends and their first chance at becoming a good friend. And it is a lesson I hope they learn well.

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7 thoughts on “Teaching your child to be a good friend #AtoZChallenge

  1. That’s a good post! I have a two year old, who is just learning about sharing with others at the moment. I know it’s going to be more and more of a challenge later if I don’t start instilling these good manners and emotional understanding lessons… I think I’m getting there – but who knows. Each day is different.

  2. Great post… Things are so different for our kids then they were for us at their age. They have so much more to worry about and a big part of that is technology.

  3. Nicki Elson says:

    Oh gosh, seeing my kids hurt by a friend is one of the hardest things in the world. But yep, even the bad experiences are good learning opportunities.

    • Stopping by on the 7th day of the #Challenge. Congratulations on a well presented blog and content. Know you are going to make new blogging friends. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Stop by.

  4. Parenting scares me–for this and so many other reasons. So much, so many little details, go into shaping a worthy human being. Kudos to you!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

  5. nembow says:

    “you need to treat others as you would like to be treated.” Great advice foe children and adults alike!

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