I recently returned from a work trip interstate, and was able to finish the week staying with an old school friend. Meredith and I first met in Primary School, when my family moved to the area. It was a very small school, with just 12 children in my grade. Meredith and I seemed to ‘click’ very quickly. This relationship was also enabled by our parents, who fostered the friendship by meeting each other, by ‘allowing’ Meredith and I to go to each others homes for play dates, and later sleep-overs. As it was a small community we also connected via a church our families were involved in and and also in a community group for girls.
We continued on to go to the same High School, though in different classes. When we were 15years old, Meredith’s family moved from NSW to QLD – so for the first time we were separated by 900km!
However, as we’d developed a close relationship we were able to continue the friendship by writing letters to each other, with a phone call at times – this is before the advent of the internet, Skype and mobile phones.
We maintained connection as we continued our tertiary studies, dated, married and had children. On rare occasions we’d see each other on holidays. We may not see each other for periods of up to 5 years, yet we re-connect easily each time. We have a lifetime friendship, which is beautiful!
In life we seem to have short term friends, some-times friends and forever friends.
Short term friends are those come into your life to either teach you something, or for you to teach them something, or whom you share a life lesson with eg I met many people who were friendly during my breast cancer journey as we had something in common.
Some-times friends are those who we might see periodically eg when we play netball each season.
Long term friends are those who you may or may not see often but you reconnect easily and know that you/ they are always available to the other person for support and encouragement.
So, how do you help your child/ren to develop these sort of friendships, to both be a good friend and to maintain the connection?
Firstly – have friendships yourself – children learn most easily from the modelling of their parents. If you find it easy to chat with people and have fun together, it increases the chances of your children doing the same.
Encourage you child to ‘mix’ and include other children in their play. Eg when you are at the local park, talk with your young child about taking turns with the other kids there, with sharing a toy or game in the playgroup setting and by suggesting to your child that they ask the others would like like to play or have the green paint, or have a race with them.
At home mention the other child’s name and how much fun they had together. And if there was a problem talk about how to make it better next time.
Give you child/ren plenty of opportunities to meet and and make friendships. Have playdates in a local park with both families, or a picnic or BBQ.
What does it take to be a good friend?
- fun and laughter
- respect and tolerance of differences
Teach your child/ren the importance of speaking nicely to their friends, to help them and care for them…. To forgive them and give them a second chance….
How do you maintain your friendship?
Is it time to call them?
Connect on social media?
Go on a coffee date?
Send them a card?
Organise a picnic?
Happy Friendly Parenting!