News Karnataka
Tuesday, January 31 2023
Know Your Child

Friendship matters: How to choose a friend

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After parents, it is friends who play an important role in our children’s life. Every child’s behaviour will first be moulded at home, and later it depends on their friends. Just like studies, and co-curricular activities choosing a friend or peer group is also required when it comes to overall personality development of the child.

As adults, if we sit and think of why do we need friendship, we have a lot many reason to share. But among children it is different. Their definition of friendship is quite unique and interesting. If you ask a 6-year-old child why do you need a friend, it might say I need a friend to play, or my friend shares his/her eraser with me or we like same colour etc. Most of their friendship is formed while playing with their peer group. This has a lot of influence on their behaviours as well as their lifestyle.

No matter what kind of value you provide at home or try to bring harmony in their lives, the people whom they meet outside the house create a different impression which is quite inevitable. Hence it is necessary to look upon what kind of friendship your children have chosen.

Young children usually discuss their daily activities with parents but when it comes to teenagers they are quite selective and secretive as they have the fear of being judged. In rare cases they talk about relationships. However as a parent, it is important to know about how do they choose friends and what can they do about it. Hence let us make our children understand the importance of valuing this relationship.

Communicate with them

It is a common fact that many parents do have busy schedule yet try to spend some amount of time listening to how would your children spend their day. You will get to hear amazing stories and also get a chance to share your stories too.

Tell them the difference between common teasing and bullying

It is common to pull each other’s legs in friendship but it should not make them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Educate your child that calling out names, making fun of physical appearance or hitting or verbal abuse is not appreciated. Children need to talk about these behaviours with their friends.

You can say No, and still can be friends

Children at an early age mostly have multiple friendships, and they frequently change their friends. The reason could be many with one of the main reason to cut friendship being not saying No when it is necessary. Encourage children to be assertive when it comes to being together.

Friendship is about caring, sharing, helping, and correcting each other’s mistake

Simple things like caring for each other, sharing things with them, helping when needed and guiding in a correct path are the main traits of a true friend. A real friend gives you positive affirmation and helps you to solve the problem and also stand by your side when you face difficulties. This is how friendship grows. Friends even share similar traits.

Childhood friendships benefit children by creating a sense of belonging and security and reducing stress. It not only helps develop social skill but also enhances skills like being empathetic, sharing values and also age appropriate behaviours. It also builds self-esteem, and confidence in children. Sometimes children find it difficult to form friendship. So understand what is that bothering them and encourage them to become a better person.

Image by Christo Anestev 
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Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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