Alphabet Parenting: F is for Friends
9/14/2021 | Dr. Tamar Andrews
\ ˈfrend \
F is for friends. YOURS! A study out of the University of Missouri, and several like it, have shown strong compelling evidence that the relationships that parents have with their own friends have a strong correlation to the way in which their own children choose friends. It can affect the way they interact within those friendships and even how they perform in college. It’s often the time that your child will be on their own and able to surround themselves with whatever kinds of people they’d like. Do you go out of your way for your friends? What kind of role model are your friends? Maybe your friends make an impact on your child’s sense of humor. Whatever it may be, be aware that your children absorb the way in which you interact in your relationships and they may mirror it later on.
Numerous studies also cite the need for children to be able to choose their own friends. As such, who YOU choose to play with, how you handle conflicts with those peers, and what you model for your children is essential to raising a child who will thrive and succeed once they leave home. As sad as it can be, that is the goal after all. So, the more healthy relationships they see you have amongst friends, the less you’ll have to worry about them choosing a crowd you wouldn’t approve of. Not to mention, it plays a role in raising a child that others want to be around as well because they show emotional maturity to handle conflicts amongst peers.
The more your child sees you interacting with your friends in positive ways, especially in how you handle conflict with those friends, sets your child up to model your behaviors. It has no consequence on your child what you TELL them to do. Unfortunately, they will often want to do the opposite. If only the ole, “do as I say not as I do” was more effective. It’s a wonderfully powerful and sometimes scary, realization to know the strongest force in your child's life will be your actions. So, choose your friends wisely, for your sake and theirs.