How Children Develop Friendships and What Parents Can and Should or Cannot and Should Not Do to Help

How Children Develop Friendships and What Parents Can and Should or Cannot and Should Not Do to Help

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Friendships broaden children’s horizons; they share their joys, secrets, and accompany them on their journeys into ever wider worlds. However, friends can also gossip, betray, tease, and exclude. Children can cause untold suffering, not only for their peers but for parents as well. In Best Friends, Worst Enemies, Michael Thompson, Ph.D., Catherine O’Neill Grace, talk about the role that friendships play in the lives of children from birth to adolescence.
This book is about the importance of children’s social lives, the tendency of kids to torment and reject their peers, and the redemptive power of friendship. Every parent and teacher watches children’s relationships played out in front of them every day. We see some isolated kids standing off to the side; we hear children gossip in the car; we see how much children miss their friends. We are able to recall memories from our childhood, both joyful and painful.
All parents tend to experience the pain about their children’s social lives. There doesn’t seem to be a way to escape it. A mother tends to agonize over her child’s social problems. A father assesses whether his son or daughter is well received by a group of children. Whether we like it or not, “we are social animals” the author says. We are able to read the social reactions and strengths of others.
Parents rejoice when their child succeeds, and writhe in distress over their failures. Unfortunately, being a parent means that you cannot always help or be apart of your child’s needs. Sometimes you have to be helpless a lot of the time. Sadly, the list of things that parents cannot do to help seems to be infinite.
Best Friends, Worst Enemies brings to life the drama of childhood relationships, guiding parents to a deeper ...


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...ange of options and variables that affect how a child develops socially. The primary caregiver must provide the attachment that is needed as a baby. The child needs to be provided with many opportunities to socialize and practice social skills necessary to be successful in the social arena. Parents, teachers, and schools need to begin to discuss ways to help children develop socially and how to help those children lacking a social skill gain that skill. Individuals involved might begin by using some of the programs discussed in this paper or by modifying researched information to make the program work for them and their situation.


Works Cited

(2011). Retrieved from Oxford Dictionaries: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/friend

Thompson, M. (2001). Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children. Toronto: Ballantine Publishing Group.

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