The end of the school year can be tough. Friends who have seen each other almost every day for months may find themselves separated for the summer. Or they may find themselves in places where they make temporary summer friends. Kids seem to change a lot over those summer months.
Sometimes best friends will see each other again at school in the fall and realize they no longer have things in common. Add competition, hormones, peer pressure and all of the other wonderful parts of growing up and it’s no wonder friendship and popularity are important topics to young people.
As a parent, you can probably do a lot to help your child’s popularity – but should you? How much should you become involved in helping your kids choose their friends? Should you just leave your kids to their own devices and hope they choose friends who will help them grow more than they put them in danger?
Our kids friendships (or lack thereof) can be almost as stressful for us as their parents as it is for them. Being intentional in how you guide them through friendships can help them minimize the drama friendships bring as well as help them build strong, godly bonds with others.
Here are some of our favorite tips for teaching kids about friends and friendship:
- Teach your kids what God has to say about friendship. Read them Bible stories about friends like Jonathan and David or Jesus and the Apostles. Share verses about friends and friendship.
- Teach your kids how to introduce themselves to new people and ask respectful questions to find common interests, experiences and beliefs. Friends start out as acquaintances. If your kids don’t know how to meet new people and discover those who may become friends, they may never have very many friends.
- Help your kids list all of the qualities that make a good friend. Although they will naturally include more superficial things, make sure they understand the primary focus should be on character.
- Teach your kids that the best friends will encourage them to worship and obey God. There are many types of friends. They should choose people for their closest circle of friends who will encourage them in their Christian walk.
- Help your kids understand they should be kind, encouraging and loving to everyone – not just their friends.
- Teach your kids friendship requires time and effort.
- Teach your kids how to resolve conflicts with their friends in godly ways.
- Encourage your kids to spend less time with friends who encourage them to make poor choices.
- Remind your kids that while it is natural to change friends from time to time, they should still be kind and encouraging to former friends.
Want more scriptures about friendship to share with your kids? Wish there were a printable version of these tips to help remind you of important things to teach your kids about friendship? You may want to download our free printable parenting resource on friendship.