Parenting Perspective: New Friends

August 30, 2010

I want them to be happy at school and pray they meet lots of new friends. I have two girls and I think girls can be like sisters - sticking together, or in some cases work to tear each other down. I think with girls in particular, it is important they make positive friends.

There's actually a lot of science behind the advice on friendships. It's really interesting; you might want to check out this site to see how kids play at specific ages. I read some expert advice on FamilyEducation.com. Dr. JoAnn Deak says from age eight or nine, girls tend to have small groups of friends. By age ten or eleven girls tend to pair up in best friends. During high school, it's all about cliques. By senior year in high school, most girls have developed more of an openness to find friends almost anywhere. My girls seem to be in the "friendship in groups" stage.

Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown says girls who have strong friendships have more self-confidence to speak out and show more courage in standing up for others and themselves. You want your kids to have allies in school and feel more secure. The article suggested you actually sit down and talk to your girls about having different kinds of friends. My daughter tends to shy away from kids who do not share all of the same interest. I'm trying to help her to reach out to a larger group of girls.

You don't have to stick like glue to each friend you make. If they simply share a few common interests, it's nice to have a variety of friends. This article talks about study buddies, good friends, best buds and soul pals - who are potentially lifelong friends.

The experts at FamilyEducation.com also say at the beginning of the school year remind your girls to be trustworthy - and not tell their friends secrets unless they're in danger. Don't be envious or jealous of your friends and share your failures as well as your successes to build a tighter bond with your friends.

Remember, they've already learned a lot about friends just by watching their number one teacher - mom!

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