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HELPING THEM Throughout history, interpersonal relationships have been the direct link to achieve the best adaptation to the environment. And in this process of social interaction of people, it is where the relationships of friendship that are established on the basis of the exchange of attitudes, emotions, needs, experiences and behavior agreements or norms of behaviors to follow, emerge An integration to every situation or phenomenon that arise in life, friendship is a symmetrical link, between equals, reciprocal and necessary. Especially for children.

Children need friends. Family is not enough, they need their peers. "The equals force the wines and girls to stop being self-centered and to collaborate with others, to help if they want to be helped, to comfort if they want to be comforted. In short, to gain and care for relationships, "says Felix López Sánchez, Professor of Psychology of Sexuality at the University of Salamanca and author of Libyan Needs in childhood and adolescence. "Friendship teaches something fundamental in life: that things deserve them, that beyond the unconditional love of the attachment figure (family), you have to know how to be in interpersonal relationships, in groups, in The company ". Add.


What good are friends?

In addition to their main function, fun, friends help children develop emotionally and socially . They serve as training for future social relationships. With them they rehearse, over and over again, the different relationships through interaction with their friends, the little ones know the social behavior, they learn to establish rules, how to find alternatives and to make decisions in front of the problems.

Friends extend the field of security (the family is), so they serve as support and push in personal development, but with a role different from that of parents. They complement the family and enrich the possibilities of communication. They are part of life beyond the family.

It seems logical to think also that having friends in school improves academic progress. Friends can help with tasks, doubts, etc. And of course, they make it more enjoyable and fun to go to class every day.

Children who have friends at an early age are more likely to have many older friends. But at every stage of a child's life. the concept of friendship is different. Thus, between the first and third years, children begin to establish contact with their peers through rudimentary games, sharing their playful character and showing their preferences for some playmates. Preschoolers already identify some children as friends and interact with them differently than with non-friends. The friendship is not yet reflected in their language, but they do show a desire to share common activities.

From the age of 3 or 4, they usually start choosing their friends based on the similarities they have with them . They consider friends with those who share common interests. At this age they begin to be influenced by the group to which they belong.

As they approach adolescence, the circle of friends is acquiring greater relevance until it occupies the role that the family has in some matters . The time spent with them increases at this stage of their lives and they spend a third of the day being with their friends.

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How to help make friends?

The current system of living of large cities prevents or hinders in a way that our children make friends as we or our parents.

Relationships with equals are essential for all children, especially for those who suffer from family deficiencies. To foster friendship, the family can contribute by facilitating relationships and fostering opportunities for children to interact with their peers.

"If parents have friends and keep relationships with them , The children of both will also eventually form stable relationships ", says López Sánchez. It is advisable, therefore, that parents have friends of some of the parents of their children's companions, that they see each other frequently, giving opportunities for the children to be together, that encourage visits to one and another house , allow them to sleep at friends' homes, travel together, have fun, make common plans ... "This is especially crucial for those small families who can not offer a wealth of social interactions to children" It is also important that friendships are favored, letting them be the ones to choose who they want to be with, facilitating small group activities and encouraging them to open up in the cases in which they are involved. that the child tends to reduce his relationships almost exclusively with one or two companions, without being understood as a punishment to their particular relationships, but as an enrichment of these relationships.

It is also appropriate to promote membership in all types of cultural, sports, ecological, voluntary, religious, etc. In these associations are formed and maintained friendships with which they share projects and a group feeling is lived, fundamental for personal and social development.

If your child has a hard time making friends ... < / Strong>

Your child may have trouble making friends, be shy or reluctant to meet new people. You can help by being a bit flexible with schedules, so that you can spend time with them. You can also organize some activity with another family that has children of the same age or offer your house to invite a partner or propose, from time to time, some plan to spend some time with a friend.

Provide things that draw the attention of your classmates and can lead to a conversation: gloves with dolls in the dedos, a backpack with funny drawings. etc. It allows and favors that your child has interests outside the school (sport, theater, etc.). If you make friends in these groups, you will have more confidence and it will be easier to make friends with other children, in addition, you will have other topics of conversation in the school. If you suspect that your child has had problems with a friend, encourage him to talk and play with his more quiet companions, with the new boy, with whom he is always alone ...

In social relationships it is not Only to learn to relate to friends and family. Equally important and recommendable is to meet and interact with schoolmates, neighbors, the basketball team, the theater team, the English classes or the groups to which they belong.

Sources: López Sánchez, Felix. Editions Pyramid.

  • Adam Floyd