There are days when I wish we were back at the potty training stage. The days when we set up playdates and chose our kids’ playmates.
Fast forward a few years and we arrive at a day our son asked to play with a classmate. The classmate was visiting his grandma, who lived near us. They had played together a couple times in the past in our back yard. On this particular day, they made it over to Grandma’s house.
At some point while at Grandma’s house, they started watching a movie that would not have been allowed in our home. Our son knew this and made his way home.
While this was a case of convenient playmate, it lead to a conservation about friendships and who we choose to surround ourselves with.
As kids get older and more independent, they start leaning on friends more for support and guidance. Friends become their world. They have a major impact on your kids and influence their decision making.
Friends can expose kids to stuff and situations that may not be appropriate and/or allowed in your home; stuff that cannot be undone.
Plato once said, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.
It’s important to teach kids to develop good friendships and choose friends that will help them grow.
We can’t choose our kids’ friends for them, but we can offer guidance and instruction.
With older kids start with an open discussion of what qualities a good friend should have.
This list of 10 questions is a great tool to use with younger kids and older kids, who may have trouble naming qualities of a good friend.
1. Do you enjoy spending time with this friend?
2. Does this friend make you laugh?
3. Can you be yourself around this friend?
4. Do you feel happy around this friend?
5. Would this friend stick up for you?
6. Do you take turns with this friend making decisions?
7. Do you have similar interests and hobbies?
8. Does this friend have similar values?
9. Does this friend respect your beliefs?
10. Does this friend encourage and cheer you on?
If you answered more yes than no, then this friend is probably a good one and someone you should keep around.
Download the Good Friend Checklist.
Psst…this is a good checklist for adults too.
For more great information on friends and bullies, check out these great posts from our Bloggers for Public Education.
- I Thought Our School Does Note Have Bullying… by Planet Smarty Pants
- Books About Making Friends and Bullies by Mama Smiles
- 5 Better Ideas Than Bullying Proofing Your Kids by Thriving STEM
- Simple Anti-Bullying Activity for “One” by Kathryn Otoshi by Books & Giggles
- Mommy, Am I Being Bullied? by 3 Dinosaurs