Friends can become an extension of the family. They love us with no pretense. They lend their ears and listen as we share our burdens. They offer their shoulder when we need to cry our hearts out. Their presence is a haven for our weary minds. Having a good friend is one of life's many great wonders.
Still, even good friends will experience ups and downs. After all, friends often have different wills or contrasting personalities. We cannot always agree. Overcoming misunderstandings through respectful and clear communication is key to strengthening our relationships. Even as adults, we often struggle to handle our relationships and conflicts healthily. But hopefully, when our children experience conflict or relationship drama, they can turn to us for help and guidance.
Remember: It is a precious moment when your child chooses to confide in you about something personal, a challenging friendship, or some ongoing drama. You should honor their trust and set aside time for open sharing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while you process with them:
- Listen intently. Let them share their side of the story first before chiming in. There are times when they just need to let out their frustrations and strong feelings. Having someone who loves them and is willing to listen may be all they need.
- Take it seriously. They may be young, but their issues are real to them. Approach their situations with a clear head and fair judgment. Try to imagine how you would act or respond if you were standing in their shoes at that age.
- Don't act on impulse. Parents often do everything in their power to immediately ease the burden of their children. However, this may not be the best course of action. Instead, your kid may need to learn how to resolve the conflict by themself. Only intervene when necessary.
- Be conscious about your (inter)actions. Your kids are always watching you. Make sure that they can emulate good behavior by living out the value of treating friends right.
- Keep an eye on your child. Watch to see how your child behaves and handles the situation. Ask them questions and get them to think about the effect of their actions. Continually encourage them to have integrity and to be kind. Even if their peers are being immature.
When your children are having trouble managing their friendships – show up. Teach your children the value of building meaningful connections and friendships. Do not let them give up easily. With your help, they will mature to be a great friend; they will fight to keep the right friends forever.