It’s hard to be a good friend! Teach kids to be a friend who doesn’t quit with these conversation starters and tips on modeling friendship.
Having a friend means having someone to do stuff with, but even more importantly the best part of having a friend is just being together.It’s having someone to count on. It’s knowing that someone cares and that you care back.
The hard part is when there is conflict in friendships. When this happens kids might think it’s easier just to give up on their friend, to quit. It’s easy for kids to be in friendships in the good times. Harder is teaching them to be there in the bad times too. Yet this is an important life lesson: to be a friend who doesn’t quit.
We want our kids to learn to have healthy, happy friendships, and that starts when they are young. Here are four ways to do that.
4 Ways to Teach Kids to Be a Friend Who Doesn’t Quit
Be Positive About Friendships
When it comes to friendships, talk to kids about their friends in positive ways. Praise times when they treat their friends with kindness. Also, be encouraging even when your children, or their friends, make a mistake. Remind your kids that no one gets it right all the time.
Talk About What Friendship Means
Sit down with your children, and make a list of what it means to be a good friend: to be caring, trustworthy, and someone to believes the best and cheers you on. Friendship also means taking time for the other person. It’s remembering them on important days like their birthdays, Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
Sometimes friendship means you have lots of time together, other times it means you spend less time together, but you always look forward to when you can join up. Just because you don’t see someone often doesn’t mean you quit the friendship. Talk to your kids about friendships that you’ve had over the years.
Be the Example
First of all, Kids learn how to be a friend by watching us. How do we treat our friends when we are with them and when we are apart? If you are going through a conflict with a friend, talk to your kids (in simple terms) about how you’re trying to work through that conflict and why it’s important that you do. Sometimes friendship means finding common ground. Remind your child that you don’t quit on a friend just because you have conflict.
Talk About Forgiveness
Here are some simple ways to talk about forgiveness when you do have conflict with friends:
1. Friendship means asking for forgiveness. And sometimes it means offering forgiveness. Remind your child that there are times their friend will make a mistake, but there will be times when they do too.
2. Friendship means talking about misunderstandings. It is hard to talk about conflict and disagreements, but the alternative is even worse: losing that friend. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend you side, but listen as they tell theirs.
3. Friendship means looking at a problem from two sides. If your child has a misunderstanding with a friend, ask, “How do you see the problem?” Then ask, “How do you think your friend sees them problem?”
4. Friendship means take steps toward making up. Talk through ways that your child might approach a friend. Be encouraging about the results. “Just think how good it will feel if you both have a chance to talk about this. I know I always feel better when I talk with a friend when we have a problem between us.”
I am so thankful for the friends I’ve had over the years. I’m thankful that I didn’t give up, didn’t quit. I’m thankful when I’ve given forgiveness and when I’ve accepted it. I’m sure you feel the same, and hopefully these ideas will teach your kids not to quit, too!
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