“It looks as if friends are the most important in terms of survival.” Thiswas revealed in a research done by the Centre for Ageing Studies at FlindersUniversity in Adelaide, Australia that concluded that a network of good friendsis more likely than close family relationships to increase longevity. Theresearch in fact suggests that people with an extensive network of good friendsoutlived those with the fewest friends by 22%.
I’m sure that as parents and people with our own experiences (even those whomay struggle with it) are acutely aware of the importance of having friends.Friendships are important in helping children develop emotionally and socially.Research shows that children with friends have a greater sense of well-being,better self-esteem and fewer social problems as adults than individuals withoutfriends.
However, just like other life skills that you assist your child with, evenwith friendships you may have to encourage, push, be supportive or evenintervene if the situation demands. These tips may help you do so.
Make your home welcoming – It is important to open up yourhouse to your child’s friends. When your son/daughter is able to invite newfriends home, it’s easier for them to develop a relationship as they feel moreconfident in the comfort of their own home.
Organize social events – You could look at inviting yourchild’s friends to a sleepover, pajama party and/or a Sunday lunch.
Support extracurricular activities – By joining an activitylike dance, art, music, painting, whatever your child may have an inclinationfor, will allow your child to meet others who share the same interests. It’seasier to connect when you have something common to talk about.
Don’t push or panic – Its best not to get too stressed ifyour child is shy or slow in making friends. Some like to take their time,watching the scene before getting involved. Also, there are children who willonly ever have one or two close friends, while others will have a wider circleof friendship.
Listen – If your child is having problems making friends,listen to his/her concerns without jumping in immediately with solutions.Sometimes all he/she may need is a chance to talk.
Do you have an interesting story to share either about your self or yourchild vis-à-vis making new friends? We would love to hear from you; maybeyour experience can help a parent/child gain new insight!