I don’t know about you, but I can be a bit of a Momma Bear when it comes to my kids. I want them to be happy, to know they are loved, and to have a life without unnecessary hurts and problems. As someone who was bullied as a child, I want to make sure that they aren’t subject to the same bad experiences that I had. One key to that is making sure that they choose good friends.
My kids are generally pretty good at choosing friends who are sweet, thoughtful, and not brats. They come from families who encourage fair play, no name-calling, and apologizing when necessary. We have had a few instances where a kid at school — not a close friend — has been hurtful or mean, and thankfully the teachers are quick to help you all work it out.
Here’s how we help our kids choose friends who will lift them up, and not bring them down:
1. After school — or at dinner — we ask “Who did you play with today?” We get to know more about how they spent their day, and they know that you care about their day.
2. Get to know the kids at school. I volunteer to help chaperone events or help with crafts and it allows me to get to know the kids my kids spend their days with.
3. Keep the conversation open. My kids love to talk about their friends, and I will use those times to ask questions about said friends. What do you have in common? What do they like to do in their free time?
4. Be careful with your wording. If your child has a friend that you’re not keen on, saying anything negative about that friend will only put them on the defensive. Instead, if your child brings up questionable actions or behavior of their friends, talk about it and get them to come to their own conclusions.
5. Encourage them for good friend choices. I’ll often tell my kids that “so-and-so is a great kid” or “I like how well you and so-and-so get along.” Encouraging your kids in good friend choices can go much further that discouraging them from spending time with kids who aren’t very nice.
How do you talk to your kids about their friends at school?
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