Friendship...a Life Long Skill

09-19-2017Counselor's CornerBeverly Winterfeld, School Counselor

Sometimes teaching kids friendship skills seems trivial, but the reality is this is a life long skill that they will use beyond their school years and into adulthood.

How do I teach my kids to be a good friend, and what do they learn from it?

Kids learn sharing with others, what equal means, and they begin to know what it feels like to win and lose. They also learn to experience the difference between being a buddy and a bully. It is a great way to teach problem solving skills.

Where can they practice Friendship skills?

They can practice at school in the classroom in small group lessons, on the playground during lunch and free time, and being on sports teams allows them adequate time to experience other teammates. As adults, we use our skills in the community; at our jobs and in social activities we attend.

What qualities do I want in a Friend?

This is a common question we often ask ourselves as adults, but kids know what qualities they are searching for in a friend. Kids want; respect, kindness, and empathy for others, friends that make good choices and invites them, to play or participate. Kids like to keep friends and if you move or change communities, it’s nice to add new friends to your original list.

What are some other things that Friendship can teach?

Kids learn to better understand how to express a difference of opinion in a kind way, refusal skills to avoid wrong choices, cultural differences, and a better understanding of rules at home and at school.  A good topic of discussion at home might be how can we best support others. Encourage kids to have a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions. Friendship can teach kids how to identify many feelings and learn how to handle them. They do experience: anger, jealousy, loving, caring, and loss through friendship.

What is a Buddy Bench and why does the school have one?

A Buddy Bench is a bench on the playground where a child can go when they need to have a friend, or if they don’t have one. Sitting on the Buddy bench says” Hey I need someone to be my friend.” Kids of different grades, and rooms can play with each other. No one should be without a friend or made to feel left out. It expands our friendship to kids we might not know or usually play with.

There are numerous articles written on parenting and helping your kids choose good friends is important. Social websites are used for communication with our friends; books and videos are available on the topic. Please remember Friendship is a life long skill and as adults we use it daily. Let’s also teach our kids this important skill.

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