Parenting: Top Tips to Talk about Friendships with your Child- 5 minute read

Parenting: Top Tips to Talk about Friendships with your Child- 5 minute read

Find out some top conversation starters, strategies, key messages, best movies and songs to help discuss the topic of relationships with your child.

All children want close relationships with friends and classmates at school. These relationships are important to feeling happy and helping them to cope better with life’s occasional hard times.

Children who have good social skills are more likely to be healthy and happy and to achieve more at school and be more successful in their future careers.

“When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind.” -Quote from the movie Wonder

So how can we talk about this at home?

Key messages

  • No one has close friends all the time and most people feel lonely sometimes.
  • Not everyone will like you but lots of people will.
  • Friendships can change and not be as strong they once were.
  • Social skills are ways of behaving that help people get along with others and make friends.
  • To HAVE a good friend, you have to BE a good friend.
  • It’s okay to have an argument as long as you don’t hurt the other person.

Tips to help your child develop skills to get along with others

  1. Make your child’s friends and classmates welcome in your home and get to know them. Discuss beforehand what your child can do to make sure their visitor has a good time (e.g. do things that the visitor will enjoy too and not just what your child will enjoy).
  2. Model good social skills when you are with your own friends and talk to your child about what you do to be a good friend (e.g. be a good listener, have conversations about things you have in common, and support them when they are feeling sad or worried).
  3. Suggest to your child that all of the children they meet regularly at school, sporting activities and clubs are potential friends. Encourage them to develop a diverse social network so that they can interact with and learn about many people, not just people who are similar to them. Discourage the belief that only certain ‘cool’ or very popular classmates are worth being friends with.
  4. “Friends support you, encourage you and are happy for you. Always look out for your friends”. Isabella & Josephine – Grade 4.

  5. Teach your child how to negotiate by negotiating with them whenever possible. For example, they may not want to shower at the time that suits your timetable. You could offer them a 15-minute extension if they do it without any further argument when that time arrives.
  6. Teach and model the social skill of ‘respectful disagreeing’, which involves finding a point of agreement before stating disagreement (e.g. ‘The scary movie you want to see did get a good review but I think most of us would rather see a funny movie.’)
  7. If your children are arguing with each other, sit them down and ask them to listen to each other’s feelings and points of view, then insist on their negotiating a solution. Try not to act as referee, and stress that put-downs are unacceptable.
  8. Top Five Songs on Friendship….in no particular order and according to Mr Allen

    1. Stand by ME – Ben E King
    2. I’ll be there- Jackson five
    3. You’re my best friend – Queen
    4. With a little help from my friends- The Beatles
    5. Lean on Me – Bill Withers

    Top Five movies about Friendship

    1. Wonder
    2. Inside Out
    3. Toy Story
    4. Wizard of Oz
    5. Harry Potter Series
    Other notable mentions and possibly a bit more modern. “Count on Me” – Bruno Mars and “We’re going to be friends”- Jack White


    Hot tip - from Ms Phelan

    “Friendships blossom through positive words.”

    Action Steps:

    Your child could prepare a written questionnaire to give to you or visa versa, or just sit down and discuss at the dinner table. Suitable questions might be:

    • Think about a close friend. How and where did you meet them?
    • What is the very best thing about your friendship?
    • How do you and your friend help each other
    • What are the main problems that can happen in any friendship?
    • Think of friendship which you no longer have. Why did it end?

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