Most school-age children feel driven to "make it" in the world away
from home. Making friends and being accepted become top priorities.
School is a testing ground where children evaluate, accept, and
reject each other daily. At times, parents cringe at the degree to which
children try to fit in and are often saddened by their children's many ups and
downs. Parents often see children's interactions as cruel, and they can be. But
through these encounters, children learn some of the basic social skills needed
to be competent adults. Be prepared for the tumultuous nature of friendships in
this age group, and do not exaggerate the importance of the rough periods.
There is no one easy formula for teaching social skills. People learn
through watching parents, friends, and others interact over a lifetime.
Although bullying or abusive behavior should be addressed, parents should be
sensitive about when to get involved and try to let children work out issues on
Here are some crucial skills that will help your child become more
Let other people know that you appreciate
Avoid gossip and put-downs.
Seek wise people as
advisors and friends.
Don't let a disagreement hurt a
Take immediate action to make things right as soon as
you realize you have made a mistake.
Around age 9, many children successfully form close friendships.
Forming these relationships helps children develop sensitivity to the feelings
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