Parent Up! A Friend Indeed

Parent Up! A Friend Indeed

Friends. Joy or drama? Tears or laughter?

I know I’ve said it before, but I think it’s worth repeating; Our kids learn how to be friends based on what they hear and see from their peers and adults around them.  What does being a friend mean? Have you given your child language to differentiate between the various spectrums of what it means to be friends (from having a friend to confide in, befriending the new kid on the block, or just being friendly to everyone…)?

For preschoolers: they are just learning about life outside of themselves, so this is a great opportunity to give them language to be friendly and to encourage friendliness.

For primary kids: they are looking for “likeness”. Give them opportunities to explore likes and differences to share. Kinda like a “show and tell”. Give them language to celebrate being a friend to everyone ( regardless if the person reciprocates). Key point: Teaching them to love themselves first is critical in being able to love others without conditions.

Pre-teens: Good luck! Just kidding. Friendship here is very critical. You may notice your preteen has a couple of different “friend groups”. At this stage, your preteen is rediscovering life outside of themselves- so they have different temperaments with different “friends”, and even within groups- temperaments are fluid. Consistent table, car, afternoon, and  nighttime talks are the key to helping your teen develop language about friends.  Again, at this age, most things are fluid and fleeting; so you have to be the constant. You’re the one framing the concept of commitment, truism, honor, respect and value of all people. Love others like you love yourself.

Our kids are adults now; we’re friends. My husband and I are their spiritual covering, so we advise as  prompted, but simply put, we’re friends. As friends, we challenge each other, we encourage each other, we pray for each other (daily) and we listen to each other.  

As parents, when they were growing up, we tried really hard to give them language to express friendliness and to set boundaries for their friend relationships. It started with making sure they had language to love themselves first, so they would know how to speak to others in the same manner. Our thought was if our kids approached others as if they had something to “add value” to them, they would not feel rejected by the person. It would be the person’s loss, not theirs. This did not always work, but it helped A LOT!!!!

As a matter of fact, we joke sometimes now that our kids love themselves too much!!  Bottom line- give your kids the tools they need to love themselves and to be a good friend!

Click on the link below for helpful tips and podcast on friends and pre-teens.

Keep Living Out Loud

in HIM, terry