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Making and Keeping Friends

Knowing how to make and keep friends is a very important skill for children to learn! Why?

Children who learn how to develop close friendships:

  • Tend to engage in fewer risky behaviors as teens and have fewer mental health problems as adults than those who have no close childhood friends.
  • Have a higher self-esteem.
  • Adjust better in school and do well in their classes.
  • Learn important social skills such as cooperation and problem solving.

How can parents help their children learn how to be a good friend?

  • Actions speak louder than words!! You can be an example of appropriate social skills when you model cooperation and kindness with others.
  • Invite friends over to your house and arrange outings together such as a trip to the zoo.
  • Discuss ideas such as fairness, sharing, and problem solving.
  • Discourage hurtful behaviors. Help your child see things from another’s perspective.
  • Teach your child what it means to be a “host” and how to have concern for another’s needs.
  • Discuss what it means to be a loyal friend and discourage the spreading of rumors.
  • Teach your child secrets are to be kept, except in the case of harmful situations.
  • Help your child learn to recognize and respond to other’s feelings as well as her own.
  • Reward your child with affection and encouraging words when you see her being a good friend. For instance you might say, “I really liked the way you let Alex have the last cookie. That was very thoughtful.”

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