'Support' written in walk chalk on blackboard, with red heard instead of the 'o'.

Parents and carers are there to support their children. They encourage and help them when they need it. They cheerlead and advocate for them and do what they can to support them. But parents are not the only ones who are supportive of children. Hopefully, their friends are supportive of them too.

Some children will expect their friends to cheer them up when they are unhappy and make sure they are okay. They expect their friends to stand up for them when others call them names or are unkind. They want their friends to say, ‘Well done’ when they succeed at something.

But what if their friends are not like this? Maybe they aren’t like this because their friends don’t understand how to be supportive or that they have no experience of being supported themselves so don’t know how to be with others. In this case, your child could model what being supportive looks like so let’s teach kids to be supportive by…..

5 Tips To Teach Kids How To Be Supportive Friends

  • Ask your child what would they like their friends to say/do when they do well at something like a sporting event, new activity or school project? What encouraging words do they like to hear? Get them to say these things to their friends so they hear the compliment and think, ‘Wow, that was kind of them’.
  • Ask your child what they want/expect their friends to do when they are unhappy.  What would they consider a helpful or sympathetic response? Can your child model a helpful response when their friends need support?
  • When their friends are on the brunt of a nasty comment encourage your child to stand up for their friends by saying something rather than nothing.
  • Discuss with your child words and phrases they could use to cheer up a friend to make them feel better.
  • Get your child to talk about what support they need from their friends.

The-Parents-Toolkit by the Kids Coach, Naomi Richards

Children learn who they can turn to and who they cannot. Being a good friend and supporting others is a great life skill but for some children, it does not come naturally. We can support people even if they aren’t close friends and who knows, our support may lead to a life-long friendship.  Help your child to be supportive and recognise those traits in others – it will help them to build strong friendships as they grow into adulthood.

For more parenting help with building the life skills and personality traits you’d like your children to have, read The Parent’s Toolkit.

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