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For Mothers

For Mothers: Teaching about Friendship

What is friendship?

An old adage (at least in Canada where I grew up) goes like this:

“If you want to have a friend, you’ve got to be one.”

I think teaching about friendship to our children is likely something we do instinctively. It’s a valuable and an important area for our children’s growth.

But what is a friend?

I grappled with socialising my child because I wanted him to get on with others but I encouraged depth and quality of friendships rather than breadth and popularity in his relationships.

As far as I make out, a friend is someone who is loyal and dependable, someone who is supportive in your ups and downs and for whom you are supportive toward them in theirs.

A friend helps when you need help, accepts your help when they need yours. 

A friend laughs when you need to laugh and sits with you when you are sad or disappointed.

A friend is reliable, dependable. But also, in friendship, you enjoy one another’s company and perhaps share common interests.

Popularity v solemnity

It’s great to be popular but it’s also important to learn to be on one’s own. Having people around who affirm you is important but learning to be on your own comfortably is also valuable. If we always need others around to affirm us, what happens when we get a job in a far away land or where there are few colleagues? If we always need people to entertain us, what happens when we’re alone?

I believe whole-heartedly, we need to know how to hang out with others and equally, we need to know how to enjoy our own company.

Loyalty and reciprocity

A friend sticks by you (and you stick by him) in times of trouble: illness, grief, celebration….

Misguided loyalty can arise when a friend won’t rat on their buddy when something criminal or dangerous or life-threatening is occurring. On those occasions, a true friend will get help as needed!

Friendship hopes and wants the best for the other person, is not jealous or demeaning, is respectful and encouraging. 

Friendships start from a very early, pre-school age. 

We all need friends. I’m still learning and hope I’ve downloaded what I can to my offspring but am also learning how to learn from the next generation. Once they are adults, our children can, in a unique sort of way, become friends, if we respect each other, admire and encourage each other, and release one another to be the best person they can be.

Those are my thoughts on Friendship. I’d like to know what you make of it. Feedback is always invited:)