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  • Writer's pictureP.E.T. South Africa

Supporting Your Child's Friendships: Tips for Parents

As our children grow, so does their world. From the comfort of our homes to the playgrounds of school; alongside academics, friendships bloom, fostering social skills that will shape our children's futures. But as they explore this new terrain, how can we, as parents, offer them the best support?

Making friends is more than just fun and games; it's a vital part of childhood development. It teaches our children valuable lessons in empathy, communication, and cooperation. As parents, we may find ourselves worrying about our child's social circle—are they making friends? Are they feeling left out? These concerns are natural, but they're also an opportunity for us to guide our children with compassion.

Dr. Thomas Gordon's Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) provides us with invaluable tools. Through P.E.T., we learn the power of active listening, empathy, and assertiveness—skills that not only benefit our relationships with our children but also model healthy friendships for them.

So, when should we intervene if we notice our child struggling to make friends? It's a delicate balance. We want to give our children the space to explore and develop their social skills independently, but we also want to offer support and guidance when needed.

Here are some gentle ways P.E.T. can help us support our children in their journey to making friends:

  1. Active Listening: When our children come to us feeling lonely or left out, we can practice active listening. Instead of jumping in with solutions, we can empathise with their feelings and let them know they're not alone.

  2. I-Messages: We can use "I-messages" to express our own feelings and concerns about our child's social experiences without placing blame or judgment. This opens up a safe space for dialogue and understanding.

  3. Problem-Solving: Encourage your child to brainstorm solutions to their friendship challenges. By involving them in the problem-solving process, we empower them to take ownership of their social interactions.

  4. Empathy: Teach our children the importance of empathy and kindness towards others. Encourage them to consider how their actions and words affect their friends' feelings.

Remember, our role as parents is not to dictate our children's friendships but to guide them with unconditional acceptance and support. Through open communication, empathy, and conflict resolution skills we can model healthy relationships and empower our children to handle the sometimes tricky terrain of friendship.

As our children's worlds expand, let's be their anchors—the steady presence they can always count on as they sail through the sea of friendships.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.


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