Authored by Kristian Keefer in Parenting
Published on 01-12-2009
Although you cannot make friends for your children, you can give them the socialization tools they need to make their own friends. You can start teaching your children how to make friends from a young age to ensure that they are able to build strong relationships throughout life.
Children who do not have a positive view of their own self worth can have difficulty making friends. A child with low self esteem might believe that they are not good enough to be anyone’s friend. Instead of being outgoing and friendly around other children, they might be shy or even withdrawn. In order to teach your children how to make friends, you must first teach them to love themselves.
Teach your children to recognize their own self worth. Demonstrate to your children their talents and skills. Show your children how much you love them. Make sure they never doubt that they are wonderful, loveable children. Let them know that they are just as good as everyone else. Explain to your children that being different from someone else does not make them less important. Everyone is different in some way which is what makes each person special and unique.
Be the best example possible in social settings. Your children will learn from your example first and foremost. Greet your neighbors with a smile and a hello. Always treat others with respect. Your children will begin learning how to make friends when they follow your example by being outgoing and kind to their classmates at school.
Help your children to choose a club, activity or sport to join. An extracurricular activity provides your child with an opportunity to meet and interact with other children. They can learn about teamwork and sharing with others. As they learn to treat others well and work with others to have a successful team or club, they are likely to make many new friends.
Even when your children are involved in activities at school or through the community, they might not automatically make new friends. Your child might be shy by nature and have trouble joining the conversations of the other kids. Help your kid learn how to take some small steps before trying to make a new friend. Tell your child that sometimes the best way to make new friends is to start using a few simple steps as building blocks for a new friendship.
Tell your child to start getting to know their teammates or classmates by saying hello to some of the other kids on the team. After they have mastered saying hello, teach your child to strike up a brief conversation with another child about they game they just finished or the activity they just completed. In time, they will feel comfortable enough to have a full blown conversation with a future friend.
As you teach your child to make new friends, teach them that they should be proud of who they are. There is never a reason for them to change who they are to impress other kids. Friendships will come as long as your child is polite and kind to others while maintaining a positive self-image.