girls hands on top of each other

An experience I had recently reminded me how important it is to have supportive friends. Our friends can lift us up and put us back together when we need to be  – both practically and emotionally.  In some circumstances, it may be difficult to do this by yourself so a good friend by your side is invaluable. As adults we need this sometimes but we may look in the wrong places and reach out to the wrong people. We may think a person can help us but realise they can’t as not everyone can or wants to provide the support and encouragement we are looking for. We need to know who the right people are to turn to for support, so that we get what we need to hear at that time.

Finding Supportive Friends

Children need to learn the same thing as adults which is, ‘Who should they go to when they are stuck with a problem? Who should they go to when they feel unhappy? What about when they feel disappointment or when something does not go well or right? Who can they speak to when they are feeling emotional and need cheering up and who will be able to see things from their point of view and support them no matter what? Who is in their corner?

They may have a friend that is great fun but who is not so great at being supportive. There is no use them approaching another child who is not able to say the right things as it will only make them feel worse. Saying something like ‘it will be okay’ sometimes is not enough.  They need friends who can listen, not judge but understand their feelings. Feelings are big and cannot be dismissed and sometimes it can take a little longer to shift those feelings. Help your child identify who these supportive friends are so that they can get through their situation feeling better about themselves and ready to enjoy life again. If none of their current friends fit the bill, think about other acquaintances that may have these qualities. Encourage your child to get to know them better and turn those acquaintances into friendship.

Friendships can be so important, so let’s make sure our child recognises their supportive friends as well as knowing how to provide support themselves.  This is what really cements friendships and forges long-lasting relationships.