Social interactions are part of our everyday life. We go out, attend events, go to school, start college, go to parties or trips around the world. Every activity you engage in is a chance of meeting new people. And some of them will become your friends for life. Friendship is a deep and meaningful connection between people who are ready to support each other when they go through challenging times. This relationship is built on trust, respect, mutual affection, and support.
Even though each of us might have a distinct understanding of what friendship is, it goes beyond casual acquaintances. It is a bond characterized by shared experiences, emotional intimacy, and understanding. However, we learn all these during our lifetime. But how to help kids understand the true meaning of this word? How can you help kids learn what true friendship is about and how friends behave with each other? Let’s find out.
One of the first steps you should start with is defining friendship. As mentioned above, each of us might have a distinct understanding of this word. While for some people friendship means that you get the support of your friends anytime you need it, for others it might be the safe haven of understanding and acceptance. However, some characteristics are generally valid. Friendship is built on trust, mutual affection, and understanding. It is about care and emotional intimacy too. Depending on the age of your kids, you should choose simple and age-appropriate language to describe friendship. It is a special bond between two or more people that form through shared experiences.
This might be one of the topics that kids might discuss within school classes too. Or, they might have assignments and essays that focus on the topic of friendship. There are many free examples of essays provided by GradesFixer, where this topic is explored more in-depth. As it is stated in a research paper, friendship is about companionship and a sense of belonging too. It is about social connection and support. There are many examples any student can check, examples that will expand their view on friendship. Which will help them write papers that meet the student contract for grades. Grading college papers is an entire process educators apply and go through, so the teacher comments for students’ writing would be positive. Defining friendship and maybe reading documents on this topic is something you should start with so that you and your kids are on the same page with the meaning of the word.
Lead by Example
You might know already that children best learn through observation. And as a parent, you are one of the first role models they have. So, helping them understand the true meaning of the word friendship includes being a good friend yourself.
Focus on this. Focus on showing empathy, respect, understanding, kindness, and trustworthiness to your friends. Be a reliable and supportive friend and show this to your kids. This way, they will learn what it means to be the friend you need in your life.
The Qualities of a Friend
Besides discussing what friendship is and being an example for your kids, you also need to highlight the qualities of a friend. When do you start considering someone as your friend? What qualities should they possess so that you consider them a friend?
Even though the answers to these questions might differ from person to person, some of them are generally valid. A friend should be loyal, a good listener, supportive, and honest. Having these qualities contributes to fostering strong and lasting friendships. People come and go from your life, but some of them will always be there. And these qualities contribute to this.
Sometimes, your friends just want someone to listen to them, not necessarily offer advice. Listening actively is something all friends should do. Listening with empathy is what we all need. Encouraging empathy with your kids is something that will help them understand the true meaning of friendship.
Teaching your kids to empathize with the feelings of others, to recognize the emotions of others, and to respond to them is essential. Showing kindness and support when we go through challenging times is what we need and friends can offer us these. And they should be kind and respectful to their friends no matter where they come from. Encourage diversity, not only empathy.
Having Healthy Boundaries
This is a hot topic within this general theme of friendship. While friends should be there for each other and support themselves, they should also have healthy boundaries. Friends should support each other’s personal space, feelings, and opinions.
Even though you are friends, this does not mean that you will agree on every topic. Or that the same situation will generate the same emotions and feelings in each other. Teaching your kids to say no when they feel uncomfortable and recognizing when others need support is an essential characteristic of friendship.
Friendship is the special bond between two or more people. Teaching kids about friendship is an ongoing process, so be patient with them. There are many facets of friendship you should talk about with your kids. Define friendship and highlight the qualities of a good friend. Lead by example and be a good friend yourself. Encourage diversity and empathy, but also discuss having healthy boundaries in friendship relationships.