Parents’ Role in Childhood Friendships is very Important!
Childhood friendships play a very important part in a child’s development. It greatly impacts his personality, emotional and intellectual maturity and at times, even the child’s physical development including, but not limited to, posture, body language and mannerisms!
Most parents may not be aware but they too play an equally important role in their offsprings’ forming of healthy childhood friendships. Parental behaviors, attitudes and acceptance of childhood friendships are vital to a child’s well-being and growth as a human being in a collective society and in all aspects of an individualâ€™s life such as academic, domestic, professional and the community in general.
All these begin from the nerve racking, raucous, rag-tag band of giggling girlfriends or a pack of wild boys running around the yard and even inside the house, especially on holidays and weekends!
Although you may not approve of your child’s friends at the onset, do not show disdain or look down on their friends without giving a solid reason. Be aware however that children outgrow most childhood friendships and discover on their own the good and the bad about their friends without the necessary prompting and advice of parents.
What parents should be careful about is how they relate to their children’s friends. Acceptance is number one and if you show that you accept their childhood friends and even invite them on family outings, your son or daughter will realize later on whom they should hold close to their hearts and whom to discard. Remember, children are by nature rebellious and purposely do what parents dislike simply to show that they can make their own decisions. It is better to ride the wave and be there for your children at all times, instead of chastising them for being friends with someone you dislike which they will never understand!
It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children how to interact with other persons in a healthy, respectful and graceful manner. You are not teaching your child how to be a responsible and mature human being by making the decisions on whom they should, or should not, develop childhood friendships with.
Make your child’s friends comfortable in your presence, invite them to weekend lunch or dinners and family outing and you will soon discover that these initial childhood friendships fade on their own in good time or will last until they become adults and start their own families.
However, be on the lookout and wary of children who are a bad influence on your child. You have to muster and use all of your diplomacy and tactfully explain very clearly to your child why such friends are not right for them and may cause problems in the future if they continue to develop a close bond with them. However, if your son or daughter resists your advice to avoid particular friends, be tolerant and open-minded until your beloved child realizes the truth and decides to move on. Doing so ultimately helps your child to learn how to differentiate between people they should (or should not) associate with based on their own experience.
Remember, always treat your child’s childhood friends with respect in the same manner that your children respect your friends and associates who visit your house. In this way, they will learn by example how to properly interact with other people and learn to be responsible members of the community themselves.