Last week we started our discourse on inculcating a kindness culture in our children. Kindness is multifaceted – it finds expression in several ways – being generous, caring, understanding, forgiving…but my focus today is on Kindness expressed by being friendly, and how we can help our children develop social skills that result in positive & healthy friendships.
How many of us have had our kids say to us “John doesn’t want to play with me again”? Or perhaps your child is the one who says, “Bella is not my friend again.” How do you react to these seemingly childish reports?… “If she doesn’t want to play with you find someone else to play with”? “What did you do that he doesn’t want to be friends with you”? Or perhaps we mindlessly retort with “I’ve heard, don’t disturb me.” Every person regardless of age has a natural yearning for friendship or inclusion and statements like these from our children lend us great opportunities to share nuggets and equip them with skills for building and managing friendships.
As adults, we know that friendship as sweet and beautiful as it is can be, can also get emotionally tasking sometimes. By probing a bit deeper we are better able to pinpoint what our child is dealing with and help them work through it. The good thing is that with practice we would perfect the art of guiding our children without giving long lectures or getting overly involved. I know of parents who have taken it upon themselves to “fight” on behalf of their children – imagine a grown woman challenging a 7 year old for saying to her child “I don’t want to play with you again” or the mother of a 23 year old going to “fight” her son’s boss because he was given a query! I’m sure you get the point. Let’s remember a coach doesn’t get on the field to play he guides from the side.
As you must have figured, friendships amongst boys are totally different amongst girls (plenty drama!). While the principles are the same, the interpretation and expression are different. As a mother of both genders, here are a few nuggets I’ve shared with my children over the various stages of their lives to help them in cultivating positive, healthy friendships.
I’m sure you have a list of your own. Please share it with us and follow our blog www.parentinvestment.com so you don’t miss out on this and other interesting topics.