friendships and children
Friendships are never clear cut. They are probably the hardest thing to navigate and understand as we grow up. However, we need to try and help children to do this – understand the dynamics of friendships and why their peers behave in a certain way. One thing I think children find quite distressing is the, ‘I thought they were my best friend yet they would not say I was theirs’.

We all see things differently when it comes to friendships and I know, speaking from experience, that in my peer group some of my friends would say they are closer to other people. Why? Well they could have known them longer or they may have something that connects them more. And that should be okay. And it is for me because I am an adult and can think rationally about my friendships. However, children do not always think this way. They may think they are good friends – perhaps best friends – with someone and the other person may not agree.

Learning To Understand The Dynamics Of Friendships

So what can we do? We can sit down with our children and discuss the type of friendship they have with each of their friends and what they bring into their lives. Ask them the following questions to get them thinking more objectively about the friendship:

  • How close they think they are to them and if they think their friends would think the same.
  • If their friends could only invite 5 or 10 children to their party do they think they would be on that list?
  • If your child was having a party would that friend be on theirs?

This kind of conversation and activity can show clearly to your child whether the friend is a good friend that is mutually reciprocated or someone they just hang around and get along with. Has your child ever experienced a distorted perception of friendship? Did you help them with it or did it the children resolve it themselves?