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We, as humans, are social creatures. There is no denying the fact we like to interact and socialize with others. We long for a friendship we can value.

“I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.” These lyrics began each episode of the popular sitcom Friends. Perhaps its popularity was due to having some truth in the fiction: (a) friends can be a proxy family for young people, offering invaluable advice, support, and companionship; (b) friends can be of the same or opposite sex, but these two types of friendship work differently; (c) friends may be involved in the relationship without feelings and commitment, but may also become involved romantically; (d) friendships are central to the lives of emerging adults, especially those who are single and not in a serious romantic relationship; and (e) friends help people to figure themselves out and influence their behavior, potentially for both good and bad.

Why Do Friendships Matter to Children?

‘Childhood friendship brings lifelong benefits. Our studies reveal that children who make just one close friend are far less likely to be lonely and depressed as adults, and are more likely to enjoy successful romantic relationships in later life,’ says Dr. Cynthia Erdley of the University of Maine, co-author of The Role Of Friendship In Psychological Adjustment. Friendships help us learn about ourselves; we get more honest feedback than we do from family, says Dr. Elizabeth Hartley Brewer, author of Making Sense Of Your Child’s Friendships. ‘This is especially important when children reach the age of seven or eight and undergo important cognitive changes, which result in them developing their own sense of identity separately from their families. Effectively they are thinking: This is who I think I am. Do you like me? Have I got me right?’

What Children Can Do?

Here are some capabilities that are expected to be able to do by your child while he is socializing: communicate with new people; create an atmosphere of interaction that is not awkward, even can work together; introducing the values ​​he gained from home to his new environment; happy to share with his friends.

When to Intervene?

Even in cases where a child is aggressive towards other children, parents can help enormously by making efforts to raise their child’s confidence at home, for example by praising them and asking their opinion,’ says Hartley Brewer. For shy children, give them some icebreakers: a line to say to other children or small toys to show when they play together. Finally, it pays to be aware of how your own experiences of early friendships might affect your attitude as a parent.

Erdley found that mothers who were shy children tend to make a concerted effort to empower their children in friendships. ‘They provide lots of social opportunities and help their children if they are experiencing difficulties. Conversely, children whose parents were very socially confident tend to suffer because their parents tend to adopt the attitude of “I found it easy; my child will, too”.’

From a very young age in school to when we start working, we are put into situations where we are exposed to a whole new world beyond the confines of our homes. Our personalities are molded by the many people we meet and interact with, on a daily basis. By living in diverse societies, the issue with choosing the right friend and companions is a challenging endeavor. Choosing the right companion are essential.

It is necessity to surround ourselves with good people; people who share the same values and beliefs, in order to create the foundations of a successful friendship. Companionship and friendship is important in one’s life.  

Source: https://issuu.com/kenwilsonmax/docs/chicken_issue_7_395x295_lowrez; https://issuu.com/dawahprjct/docs/ilma_magazine_novdec_2015_issue_16; https://www.psychologies.co.uk/secret-world-children%E2%80%99s-friendships; http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/friends__friendships_in_emerging_adulthood_-_barry.pdf

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