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Your Kids and Their Friends

As parents, we often stand back as our children work at developing friendships. We don't want to be pushy, and we don't want to judge another child. But as your child grows, so does the need for friendships and a better understanding of how to find and keep good friends. Below are some ideas about encouraging friendships from the New York University Child Study Center.

  • Let your child know that friendships are important and worth the effort.
    Research shows that children who are socially well-adjusted had parents who were more involved in their children's social activities.
  • Respect your child's social style.
    Some children need many friends; others want only a few close friends. Some children find and make friends quickly; others take time to warm up to new friendships.
  • Help your child make time for being with other children.
    If your child is shy, open your home to other children, or go with your child on school outings. Make time for your family to spend time with other families whose children are of similar age to yours.
  • Take teasing seriously and respond helpfully.
    Sympathize if your child is upset by teasing, but let him/her know that all children are teased at one time or another. Find out what's causing the teasing and see if there's a way to correct the situation.
  • Know your child's friends.
    Start getting to know your child's friends and their parents now. This will make it much easier to monitor and influence your child's growing network of friends when he/she is older.


  • "Do Kids Need Friends?" from the New York University Child Study Center gives some important facts about friendship and children's success. The final sections provide the most help for parents.
  • "Dealing With Peer Pressure and Bad Companions" from the Center for Effective Parenting provides tips for dealing with peer pressure. It's not aimed at any particular age, so it speaks to young children as well as to those who are old enough to make many of their own decisions about friends.
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Updated on 3/21/2012