Friendship and Child Development

Every parent knows that schoolyard friendships hold a great importance in a child’s development. Friends boost our self-esteem, provide moral support, help us to relax and enrich our lives.

It can therefore be very difficult to see our own children struggle with making friends. This is no poor reflection on you or your parenting skills. Certain children may be shy or lack the confidence to approach others.

Similarly, some children can find it difficult to share or take turns with their playmates. Parents cannot make friends for their children, but they can help them to learn social cues and skills to socialise better with others.

At home, teach your child about the importance of showing empathy and how to resolve a disagreement. Show them that compromise and turn-taking is a great way to build relationships.

You may also want to discuss ways to cope with rejection and teasing. This could include relaxation techniques and addressing unhelpful thoughts. For example, change the phrase ‘Nobody wants to play with me’, into ‘Michael doesn’t want to play with me right now but we had fun together earlier’. Try to organise play dates at your own home where your child will be at ease.