Have you taught your child how to recognise a good friend?
When you write a book about the importance of choosing the right friends in school, it goes with the territory that other parents come up and tell you their concerns. Or, you know, HORROR stories. Horror stories from kids who are in primary school. Horror stories of kids behaving badly and I mean BADLY even in Prep or year one.
And what I’ve realised is that in the past week in between getting uniforms and school shoes and covering schoolbooks and finding lunchbox lids there’s a whole slew of kids and parents who are worrying about school staring next week.
And you know what the source of that anxiety is?
It’s been about friendships.
Listen: Should kids be allowed to have a single best friend at school, or is that exclusive? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.
The kids were either anxious about starting a new school and making friends (totally understandable) OR they were anxious about going back into their current friendship group. A group that perhaps is not so great. A group that is perhaps making the child in question miserable.
And it made me think that perhaps we don’t talk enough to our kids about friendship. Are we actively teaching our kids how to recognise a good friend and a bad one? Are we explaining how to be a good friend yourself? How to handle the ups and downs of friendship? How to know when to leave a friendship and how to do it?
Obviously this is something I cover in detail in Find Your Tribe (and nine other things I wish I’d known in high school). The first chapter deals exclusively with what girls starting high school need to know about choosing the right friends. My theory being that at least 50% of whether or not you enjoy high school is based on WHO you choose to hang around.
So I thought I’d do an extract from that chapter here (see below). And I’d also include some conversation starters for parents who have children in primary school.
If you or your primary-school aged child are worried about friendships, here are some talking points. It’s worth remembering that making friends and being a good friend is a big learning curve for kids (and, er, some adults). Sometimes our kids will make bad choices. Sometimes our kids will behave badly themselves. But if we keep having these conversations, I think that’s the key to making the right decisions.