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Friday Introduction: Encouraging Positive Friendships

Posted by on August 30, 2012

I’m honored to have my blogging friend, Rosann, from ChristianSuperMom guest posting about friendships today. It’s a timely reminder as our kids head back to school. And congratulations to Cindy Bischoff, who is the winner of our 31 Gifts Utility Tote giveaway.

It’s almost that time of year again.  Soon my daughter will be meeting her 2nd grade teacher and reuniting with friends from last year.  I’m grateful she has a natural love for school and learning.

I’m cautiously watchful when it comes to her friendships, though.

Since she was old enough to play with other kids, I’ve been teaching her the importance of being the salt and the light, a friend to all.

What I never prepared her for is how to determine when a friendship is not worth pursuing.  I guess the thought never crossed my mind that she’d be in a position of having to unfriend someone.

But toward the end of last school year, there was this bully…

…my daughter was emotionally damaged.  An attack on her faith, spun into a vicious lie where others were also deeply hurt.

I didn’t want to be that mom who sticks her nose in her children’s friendships.  But I had to do something to protect her from any future recurrences.

So I stepped in and forced an end (the best I could) to an unhealthy friendship.

As school resumes, I pray old pains and rumors will be forgotten.  Additionally, I have a plan.

A Plan for Encouraging Positive Friendships

 1.  Keep An Open Line Of Communication

Children need to trust they won’t be in trouble or looked down on if they share details of their world with one or both of their parents.  Ask questions and be sure to listen attentively to how their day went.  Choose words carefully keeping your child’s feelings in mind.  Remember to respond with grace.

2.  Embrace Teachable Moments

Look for teachable moments in the every day.  When watching a TV show together.  When reading books together.  When observing others interacting with one another.  Read and discuss with your child what the Bible teaches about friendship.  Continually reinforce the characteristics of a healthy relationship.

3.  Encourage Positive Friendships

Make it a point to invite your child’s friends over for fun activities or play dates.  Get to know the family of their friends.  Host game night or dinner at your home and invite the family over.  Become friends with their friends.  Say a friendly “hello!” whenever you see your child’s friends at school or extra-curricular functions.

4.  Set A Good Example

Children learn by watching how their own family members behave in different situations.  Set a good example.  Nurture your own relationships.  Be a good friend.  Adults can be bullies too.  Don’t be a victim.

What steps do you take to help nurture your child’s friendships?

 

Rosann Cunningham is a Christian Author, wife to the man of her dreams, and stay-at-home mom to two delightful little girls. When she’s not out for a jog or having energy burning dance parties with her daughters, she can be found writing for her blog ChristianSuperMom, and ministering to women whose husbands are in a season of unemployment, at her other website UnEMPLOYED Faith.  Her writing inspiration for both projects comes from a strong desire to glorify God while sharing the heart of her journey through a life of faith.

8 Responses to Friday Introduction: Encouraging Positive Friendships

  1. Rosann

    Lori, thank you so much for having me here. It’s truly an honor for me. I’m a big fan of your blog! Wishing you a beautiful weekend, dear friend.

  2. Sarah

    I haven’t really had friendship stuff coming up yet with my boys being so young. We don’t hang out with too many families. And really I like it that way. ;) The boys are SO influenced right now being so young. I just assume them be with me for the first 5 years then branch out a bit. Sounds crazy I am sure, but I’ve noticed my oldest adapts to older kids behavior SO fast, he’s much more testy if it’s a bad kid. I would rather be the one who influence’s them right now. :)

    Great advice though. :) When the boys are a bit older, I am sure I’ll be heading into the friendship roads. Not really looking forward to it. haha

    My own experiences taught me there aren’t very many “good” friends out there. So many stabbed me in the back for being different (home schooled), or just treated me like an out cast. They were not friends. I was not scarred though. I learned a lot. Mostly I was older when I was aloud to play with kids in my neighborhood and such. I am very thankful my mother was VERY selective on who I could spend time with. I may have been mad at times when she said no, but I understand now. And understand a little then.

    I remember I worked it so I could spend the night at this one girls house (my mom wasn’t around, it was my dad lol), I soon realized why my mom didn’t like her. And I just wanted to go home and not spend the night anymore.

    Being a good influence ourselves truly is a GREAT teacher. :)

  3. Rosey

    It does make you worry when there are so many influences around, and not all of them are good. Hopefully though, bygones will be bygones and the kids will be too happy and excited about school starting to rehash old news. Crossing my fingers for you!

  4. Family Travels on a Budget

    I use the same tips you recommend. One thing I often ask my kids after they make a mistake is, “How would you feel if _____ treated you that way?” It helps them understand that the world is not all about them. Love God. Love others. It always works better that way!

  5. Barbara Mascareno

    @Rosann, great article, friend. It’s never easy to teach our kids how to deal with these types of offenses. And it’s never easy to see your child suffer through it all :(
    @Lori, great site:) Love how you teach children to have faith once again.

  6. Shannon Milholland

    One of the cautions I give when I teach parenting to preschool moms groups is to not form the habit of choosing your children’s friends. We all have a tendency to do that. We like the mom. We plan play dates. Our children never really choose or make friends. We do it for them.

    The danger in this is it doesn’t give your kids an opportunity to determine for themselves the qualities they’d like in a friend. Have your children write down what a good friend looks like. Then they can evaluate new classmates by that standard and learn for themselves how to forge friendships.

  7. Julie

    I have also seen how important it is to listen to my daughter when she talks about problems with friends at school. She sometimes exaggerates the story, and I can usually tell when she is doing that, but I always try to listen carefully and help her sort out what is really going on and how she can respond. Thankfully, so far, the problems she has shared have gotten sorted out fairly quickly. I pray for much wisdom when the bigger, knottier problems show up.

  8. Barbie

    It’s so important to teach our children to have good friendships. I always tell my children that hurting people hurt other people. My children have learned to recognize that most often when someone lashes out against them, there is a bigger issue. But that doesn’t make it any easier when your child’s heart is breaking over hurtful comments, etc. Oh the pains of growing up!

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