Relationships in life such as friendships can be positive or negative; they can enhance our life or poison it. It’s important that we teach our children not only how to make friends, but how to be “a good friend” which comes about by instilling our children with good values. If we show our children respect we will teach them how to respect others. Children often learn by watching their parent’s actions and behavior, so we need to be careful of what we may be inadvertently teaching our children. Teach children to be caring and compassionate to others. Boys can be taught more compassion without making them overly emotional. Teach girls not to compare and assume that if another girl is thought to be prettier that means she is therefore in some way “superior.” It’s not that boys are immune to developing inferiority complex’s, it’s just easier for girls to because of the way society, namely the media and Hollywood, portray women. From very young ages girls are often pitted against each other to compete in very unhealthy ways. To counteract this we must teach children solid self-worth and focus on what their strong points are to help them develop resilient self-esteem. Too much importance should not be placed upon outer appearances or material possessions to keep unhealthy comparisons at bay. Being competitive is a good thing that can build strong self-confidence, but there is a thin line when it can cross over to becoming unhealthy. It’s always more fun to win, but children must also learn how to lose. If they never experience losing they will never fully appreciate the wins in life. Friendship needs to be a two-way street, a pleasurable journey with both parties having the same destination in mind. We can’t just pick a person and wave a magic wand overhead saying “poof we’re friends.” Friendships are usually cultivated on commonalities we share with each other. Friends should make us feel good, even in the worst of times. A true friend will be there through the storms in life and not just be a fair-weather friend. A genuine friend is supportive, and should possess traits such as loyalty, honesty, trust and always be happy for us in our successes. If a friend shows signs of envy, resentment, jealousy, disloyalty, distrust and is not happy for us – this is not a friend at all. It’s preferable to not have such people in our lives. Loving relationships are filled with mutual respect and often start off as friendships, so in order to be fortunate in love we need to first be blessed in friendship. If as parents we teach our children to be respectful and have the positive traits mentioned above, then healthy interactions will come naturally and lead our children to form healthy relationships all through life.
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