An important part of a child's life is character and social development. Although children can form social bonds on their own, it may be helpful or even necessary to teach them to have positive social interactions and to maintain relationships. There are a few ways you can teach children about friendship. You can first expose them to friendship, then talk about what it means, and then teach them to handle conflict.
Method 1 of 3: Exposing Children to Friendship
Step 1. Be a good friend to set an example
Children always pay attention to what we do and say even if we don't realize it. An easy way to teach them about friendship is to let them see that you are a good friend. By showing them what friendship is like, you will model the way friends act and reinforce some of the things you teach them.
- Let them see you interact with other people in a positive way. For example, let them listen when you greet a friend or colleague politely.
- You can also tell your children, "My friend is a bit sad, so I must be a good friend and try to cheer him up."
Step 2. Give them opportunities to socialize
Children of all ages like to spend time with their peers and socialization is important for their development. By giving them structured and unstructured time to socialize, you can teach them about friendship. With these opportunities, they will have a real experience of making friends and maintaining friendships.
- If you are a mother or father, make a playdate for your children. Watch for a moment how the children interact and get to know the other parents.
- If you are a teacher or mentor, try to encourage positive peer interactions by assigning group activities and giving them a chance to learn and play with each other.
Step 3. Show them other friends
Just as they observe adults, they can also learn from other people and situations around them. Everywhere you can find examples of friendships that can help you teach children to have positive social interactions.
For example, if you watch television with your children, you could say “Wow! See how they act with each other. They seem to be very good friends”
Method 2 of 3: Talk about what friendship means
Step 1. Talk about emotions
Explain that regardless of age, we naturally have negative emotions and selfish thoughts. However, to develop a friendship, we must control these thoughts and replace them with love and empathy. Start talking to your children early about emotions and self-control, and be a positive role model every day to show them how to control their emotions.
If children learn mastery of emotions early and have positive role models, they are more likely to maintain self-control, empathy, and problem-solving skills. As a result, they will be able to establish lasting and happy friendships
Step 2. Talk to them about loyalty
A good part of teaching about friendship is talking about what it means to be a friend. Explain to the children that being friends means being with the people you love and sometimes even caring for them.
- For example, you could say, “A good friend won't stop playing with someone just because someone new showed up. Good friends try to play with everyone”.
- You could also say, "Sometimes friendship means standing up for the people you love if someone else bothers them."
Step 3. Talk about how to support someone
When you explain to children what friendship means, you may find it helpful to talk about how to be around and support someone. Let your kids know that friends are there to support each other when everything is good and fun, but also when things are not going so well.
You can say, for example, "Friendship means holding your friend's hand or just listening to him when he's upset."
Step 4. Emphasize honesty
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to be a good friend if you are not sincere with those close to you. Explain to the children that an important part of friendship is being honest with others about your feelings, who you are, and everything else.
For example, you could say to your children, "Friends trust each other and talk honestly about who they are, what they like and don't like, etc."
Method 3 of 3: Teach Children Some Ways to Handle Conflict
Step 1. Talk to them about conflict resolution
Children are still learning to control their emotions and handle situations appropriately. Therefore, at times they will not be able to get along or act friendly. You may be tempted to jump in and fix the problem when you see it. However, instead of solving their problems, teach them critical thinking and solving their own conflicts so that they learn about friendship.
- For example, you could say to a child, “You have very good problem-solving skills. How could everyone play?
- You could also say, "How do you think friends should handle a situation like this?"
Step 2. Give them constructive criticism
Although children can use their problem solving and conflict resolution skills well, they may need help at times. You can teach them a lot about friendship and conflict resolution by giving them constructive criticism of the situation and their behavior.
- For example, if two children are fighting over a toy, you could say, “I don't think they really want to handle this like this. Let's take a break and come up with some solutions. "
- You could also say, “I love how you work together to figure out a fair way to handle this situation. That's a great way to troubleshoot. Keep going!”.
Step 3. Take advantage of the moments when you can teach them
These moments are natural situations and cases where you have a real opportunity to teach or reinforce something that you already taught. When teaching children about friendship, look for those times during the day when you can highlight something you've taught them about it.
- For example, if you go out with your children and see adults arguing, take the opportunity to talk to the children about conflict resolution.
- Also, if you watch a webisodes together and see that two of the characters disagree, you can talk to the children about how they handled the situation.
- Also, you can help them interpret body language. To do this, show them your own facial expressions and body language, and explain what you are expressing.
Step 4. Be authoritative and not authoritative
Children of authoritarian parents are more likely to have low levels of esteem and self-esteem, as well as a greater tendency to hostility, anger, and controlling behavior. This can make it very difficult for children to develop long-lasting, healthy relationships with their peers. It can even cause mental problems later.
- An authoritarian parent often avoids discussions about problems that may arise and is likely to control the particular situation or behavior through punishment.
- An authoritative parent approaches problems with kindness and compassion. Guides the child with behavior problems through rational conversation and explains the reasons for the rules.
- Children raised in an authoritative environment have less aggressive behavior, are more independent, and have an easier time developing excellent friendships with their peers.