So, here’s a great question to ponder on: Do you approve of your child’s friend choices? Let’s be honest; it’s like choosing the right avocado at the grocery store – it can be a bit of a hit or miss. But let me give you some juicy insights from our Frolic for Life Parent Coach to help you slice through the mushy stuff and find the perfect ‘friends-avocado’ for your little guacamole-loving kiddos!
You might be wondering, “Why should I even care about my kid’s pals?” Well, friends aren’t just people they hang out with at school or in the neighbourhood. They’re more like life instructors in disguise! Your child’s friends are like those extra secret ingredients in grandma’s spaghetti sauce that make it extra special.
Mutual Respect: A great friendship starts with respect. It’s like that unsaid rule at the dinner table – we all have to chew with our mouths closed, right? Your child’s friends should respect each other’s thoughts, feelings, and personal space. If they’re going all ‘noisy eater’ on each other’s boundaries, it’s a red flag.
Shared Interests: Friends are the peanut butter to your child’s jelly. They should share common interests. Having fun together is really important but you can’t force your child to like someone if they don’t like anything in common.
Open Communication: Communication is key, and it’s not just the ‘what are you doing’ kind of talk. Friends should be able to chat openly and honestly. If your child’s friend can’t tell them when they have spinach in their teeth, something’s up.
Supportive Environment: Friends should be like the warm hug of a cozy blanket on a rainy day. They should offer emotional support when your child feels like life just spilled their juice box. If they’re not, they might be more like that chair with the wobbly leg – not very reliable.
Positive Influence: A good friend is like that superhero action figure your kid plays with. They should inspire each other to make good choices, and not get caught up in villainous schemes. If your child’s friend is leading them down a path of mayhem, you might want to intervene as a parent.
Now, here’s the fun part – how to navigate this ‘friendship avocado’ landscape like a pro!
The Open Chatterbox: Encourage open conversations with your child. Create a space where they can spill the beans about their day and what they got up to with their friends.
Master the Art of Q&A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. “What’s so cool about your friend?” or “Did you have fun playing together?” These can be the breadcrumbs leading to friendship discoveries.
Teaching Boundaries: Teach your child about personal boundaries, like the invisible ‘no touching the dessert until after dinner’ line. Help them recognise when a friend might be crossing these boundaries and how to say, “Hey, that’s not cool!”
The Sherlock Holmes Approach: Encourage critical thinking. “Does your friend make you laugh or frown more?” This detective-style questioning can help your child reflect on their friendships.
Supportive Mode Activated: If you think a friendship is more ‘villain’ than ‘hero,’ don’t be the judge and jury. Be their support team. Offer guidance with a side of understanding. It’s a good lesson in getting them to solve their own problems with a bit of encouragement and support from behind.
Rock Your Friendships: Your child learns by example, so make sure you’re rocking your own friendships. Show them what a great friend looks like by being one yourself.
So, do you approve of your child’s friend choices? Well, it’s not about approval in the traditional sense. It’s about guiding your child to make friendships that are as awesome as their imagination. Remember, friendships are the seasoning of life, and you’re the chef that oversees it in the kitchen. Stir in the right ingredients, and you’ll create a delicious friendship stew that’ll warm your child’s heart and fill their life with flavour.
As parents, we’ve got this. Let’s keep those conversations flowing, the questions coming, and the lessons about boundaries a-rollin’. Because in the end, the goal isn’t just to approve of their friend choices, but to guide them towards friendships that help them grow, learn, and become the amazing individuals they are meant to be!