Social isolation is on the rise since the onslaught of the digital world on the human kind. This often leads to a variety of mental disorders like social anxiety, lack of self-confidence etc. Children learn all the essential life skills when they observe and interact with their peers. Statistics states that children who develop good friendships are more social and jovial.
There are some key indicators you may have to identify in the early years of your child to note if they have any qualities which might reduce their likability among their peers. One such example is temper tantrums. A child throwing a temper tantrum in a friend’s place is most likely to left out of social gatherings and parties.
So the brunt of the task falls on parents to enable their child to develop good friendships and help them out with their not-so likable qualities as well.
Here are some broad categories through which you can guide your child to retaining good friendships in their lives:
1) ENCOURAGE HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS
Kids at a younger age are often impacted by their peers heavily. Like a silly fight with their best friend can cause them to be distraught and unhappy. Look for the signs and encourage your child to open to you about their day – what is causing them to be worrisome or sad. The key to remember is to never judge them. Make them feel valued and important when they open to you about something and help by giving valuable inputs to overcome that!
In another case, a child can get under the wrong influence of their peers which might be affecting them in the wrong way. In those cases, it is better to have a discussion with your child about the nature of healthy relationships with questions like “What does a good friend look like? How does a good friend behave? What do good friends do?”
2) ENCOURAGE FRIENDSHIPS WITH BOTH GENDERS
Early years is the prime age for children to form impressions about everything. Thus, it is the ideal time for kids to interact and move along with children of both the genders. Through these early friendships, they develop the self-confidence to mix/work/interact with different genders later on in their life. Do not try to influence or change their opinion about anything until it is of grave importance. Allow your kids to move and interact with their peers openly – it will help them break the mystery when a child has had little or no exposure to the other genders.
3) DO NOT CONDEMN THEM IF THEY DON’T HAVE FRIENDS
A parent should act as a child’s first and foremost trustworthy friend. So if appear to be loners with limited/no friends, some parents get alarmed and push their child to extreme means. You have to understand that ‘Birds of the same feather, flock together”. If your child is a seeming loner, it is quite possible that he/she haven’t met anyone who has his likes or interests. On average, children usually have only two or three significant friendships at any one time. It’s the quality rather than the quantity of friendships that counts. So be their pal and guide them to means through which they might make good friends – example, encourage them to take up a few extracurricular activities. Here they are bound to work in groups or meet people with their common interests!
Having said everything, as parents you have a responsibility to raise socially aware children. So instill in them good values and encourage them to be more helpful and being more friendly. If they have trouble entering or speaking in a social situation, do not ambush them or use force. Gentle talks and simple social games inside the home are wonderful ways to tackle this. We at Mount Banyan Global School ensure that children are engaged in group activities like plays, games, etc., where they learn the nuances of working as a group and moving in with peers.