As adults and models to our young children, we should have a clear picture of what friendship means and its role in raising our children right. Every individual is at liberty to choose his or her friend and we must endeavor to be the first friend our child will decide to choose. Here are some things we can do to encourage their choice.
LISTEN ACTIVELY: Listening to a child is a skill that is often mismanaged especially by adults who are either preoccupied with various thoughts and activities. When your child is speaking to you, listen to understand and not to respond; listen to the tone of the voice and pay attention to the body language. All of these help you empathize with your child and puts you at an advantage for further conversations.
BE AWARE: Update yourself with current trends and happenings within and around your environment. When new names, words, songs, cartoon characters, slang, stories, or activities spring up, do not assume that they don’t exist; find out what they are and gather as much information as possible about them even before your child starts to use them. You cannot afford to be in the dark about things happening around your “Friend”.
CHECK-UP: As weird as it may sound, try as often as possible to check up on your child away from the normal routines at home. Remember to ask after issues or ideas they have talked about, their values, interests, goals, likes and dislikes, fashion sense, and so on.
Do not wait for your child to be friendly, show your child how to be friendly by modeling it using the strategies above.
“The difference between a friend and an enemy is friendliness”