Parents always want to see their children thriving with a loving group of friends. Since we may not be present for every conversation, celebration, or argument, we might not know exactly how well our kids do at relating to their peers. It’s a common worry for parents to wonder if their kid is being bullied, or, just as concerning, that their kid is a bully to others. How do you guide your kids to be the best friend they can be to their playmates? It starts with love being shown from the parents, and you can share a few key character traits with your kids to help them navigate their friendships successfully.
Love yourself, in order to love others
Child therapists say that almost all behavior of children toward their peers are influenced by their self-esteem. Parents have a direct role in boosting their children’s self-esteem and giving them the tools to love themselves. Consistently show your children that they are worthy of your love, and they will treat their peers in the same way. At home, you can even practice self-affirming statements that your children will have as tools when they feel down on themselves. You can even try them out, yourself, for good practice!
Show them how a good friend acts
Kids learn almost all of their social habits from watching how their parents relate to each other and other grown-ups. In your own relationships, make sure you are modeling what it means to be a good friend. Among your friends and your family, compliment your loved ones often, ask for forgiveness when you’ve wronged them, thank them for generosity, and offer help when it is needed. These seem like simple things, but it can make an impression on future generations!
Teach them to recognize their peers’ unique gifts
The playground can often be a harsh place for a kid who “stands out” for any reason. Whether it’s a physical handicap, worn-out clothes, or any other perceived “flaw,” kids will often pick on their peers who are different. To work against this, teach your kids how to appreciate the unique things that make their friends special. Sharing this trait will prepare them to be more tolerant of those who are different from them, for the rest of their lives.