Why Your Children’s Friends Are So Important to Their Wellbeing

Why Your Children’s Friends Are So Important to Their Wellbeing

Eileen O'Shanassy (Guest Blogger) on Oct 6th 2019

Every one of us can remember what it's like to have that one childhood friend. The one with whom you grew up together, shared childhood experiences, laughed, cried, loved and fought. This friend had a huge influence on your life and the same applies to your children and their friends. Childhood friends are incredibly important to your child's wellbeing. Here are four reasons why.

Developing Social Skills

The social habits which your child learns in the course of childhood friendship for better or for worse will influence their behavior for years to come. Friendships, particularly in childhood, will help a child learn vital social skills that they will need all their life. This includes the importance of listening, compromising, supporting each other and caring for a person outside of their immediate circle of family members. These skills will be necessary for developing long-term relationships, succeeding in the workplace and having a functional social life as an adult.

Influencing Behavior

It is easy to get caught up in the moment when spending time with friends, which can have significant negative consequences if they are a bad influence, or incredibly positive ones if they are a good influence. Children often copy behaviors, actions and speech patterns from each other, and what they learn from their friends can lay the groundwork for future adult behaviors and interactions. That's why it’s so important that kids find the right social group early. Who they spend time with as adults can impact the way they behave in the future positively or negatively. Furthermore, for kids, peer pressure is an important social pressure with which they must navigate. It can push them towards certain behaviors good or bad. That's why having positive childhood friendships are so important for kids.

Developing Lifelong Interests

Remember, having a childhood friend is about more than friendship—it’s also about shared experiences. Good friends can expose the other to different aspects of their life which they have never seen before, including new types of interests, games, and experiences. Having a good friend means pushing a child out of their normal comfort zone and helping them experience new events that they never would have otherwise. A good friend gives a child that new experience and gives a child a chance to show off everything that they love as well.

Giving and Receiving Emotional Support

Friendships are a vital part of childhood. Childhood friendships set the stage for long-term romantic relationships in a variety of ways, even when they are completely platonic. This occurs because children learn the skills necessary in romantic relationships, such as how to care for another person, provide emotional support, and be a good listener. Being able to receive emotional support from friends also helps children to have good self-esteem and self-confidence.

It's important to remember that childhood friendships are about so much more than having another person to watch television with or share a love of video games. They are critical to developing social skills, exposing a child to new interests and making sure that they develop into a successful and happy adult. As such, adults should do whatever they can to support these friendships.

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