How to teach your kids to choose friends wisely
As parents, we have a natural tendency to make sure our kids are choosing the “right crowd” to hang out with. Sometimes, this tendency means we end up stepping over the line and choosing friends for them! Setting up playdates with specific kids might be a good strategy now, but it hinders your kid’s ability to make their own judgement when it comes to new friendships.
Teaching your kids about healthy friendships will teach your kids to choose their friends wisely, even if it means they will have to make a few mistakes along the way. I know it can be hard to let them do this on their own, but it will do wonders in the long run. Here is how you can teach your kids to choose their friends wisely, to help them develop healthy friendships.
Teach them values
Everyone has their own set of values and personal beliefs, some of which are developed as children. Your kids will likely learn many of these values from you, the parent, and from the people they interact with. Talk with your children about family values, and things you value, to help them understand and be able to see that same value in others. This will help them when choosing friends as it will allow them to know whether or not a potential friend has the same beliefs and values.
Share experiences with your children
Children lead by example, which means opening up to your children about experiences with your friends can help teach them valuable lessons. This can avoid some of the headaches of choosing bad friends down the road, and also help them learn without making the same mistake.
Allow your children to interact with a variety of children
Allowing your child to interact with a variety of potential friends will help them learn who they enjoy hanging out with. This will help them learn the meaning of being a good or bad friend, and be able to identify characteristics of both. It will also teach them that they can be friends with someone who is different from them, and the opposite as well.
Encourage healthy friendships
When your child develops healthy friendships, it’s important to express your approval. This means encouraging play dates or even driving them to the friend’s house from time to time. Your child will look to you often to try and figure out what you think of their friends, so it’s important to let them know when they’ve found a positive friendship.
It’s never too early to start teaching your kids how to choose friends wisely. As your child grows up, they’ll know the difference between a toxic and a healthy friendship with other children. Not only will this teach your children how to pick positive friendships, but it will also teach them what it means to be a good friend as well.