Children and Friendship Drama – Should Parents Get Involved?

It’s back-to-school time with children returning to school.  There will be old friends for them to laugh and talk with and new friendships to build.  Of course, there will be times when there are squabbles.  What do you as a parent do when your child comes to you with a complaint?  You likely remember the times when you were a child and what happened to you.  Perhaps you have upsetting memories of quarrels that you do not want your child to experience.  Some expert advice can help you now that you are a parent to handle these squabbles.

Many experts agree that instead of going immediately to the other child’s parents to lodge a complaint, there are several other actions that you can take.   First, listen to what your child has to say.  Ask questions.  Be empathetic to what your child has experienced. Try to get the full account of what happened.

Second, encourage your child to standup for herself.  After finding out what happened, ask your child “Did you stand up for yourself?”  This does not involve your child saying anything that is rude or derogatory but does involve her not putting up with someone else’s bad behavior.  Try role-playing with your child so that she can learn how to react and respond differently in the future.  You should not be the one fighting your children’s battles for them unless it is necessary.

Third, help your children learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy friendships.  Ture friendships are built on trust and respect.  When a “friend” crosses the line, your child should know what to do. 

Fourth and perhaps most important, be there for your children to talk to.  Let them know that you are always available to talk and help them understand what has happened and not be judgmental.

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What God’s Word Says About Being a Good Friend

I have written before about how to help our children choose good friends according to the Word of God.  I think that message is very important, but what is just as important and often overlooked, is what the Bible has to say about being a good friend.  Friends are a crucial part of our lives.  Having and being a good friend strengthen our lives and our walk with God.  These are a few ways your children can be good friends and have positive influences on their friends’ lives:

1.    Be there for your friend. We all go through rough patches that only a true friend could make better. The Bible talks about being there for a friend in times of trouble.  Being available, whether by phone or in person, and listening to them when they are distressed can be so comforting to them and lets them know that you can be trusted. It strengthens the bond of that relationship in a time that can tear many apart.

2.    Tell the truth.  We often want to spare our friends’ feelings, but sugarcoating a situation does nothing to help them in the long run.  We should be honest with one another because it is the only way to grow and better ourselves.  Of course, that does not give anyone the right to be mean or harsh.  I once heard someone say “honesty without tact is abuse,” and that is so true.  As a friend, your goal should never be to hurt someone’s feelings, but to help your friend progress in whatever aspect needs improvement. Give constructive comments rather than hurtful criticisms - the message will be received much easier.

3.    Spend time together. Between school, soccer practice, and chess club, our children can be very busy.  Yes, school and extracurricular activities are important, but just as important is spending time with their friends and truly enjoying their friends’ company.  Children have so much energy that they are bound to find activities to do during their time together.

Also, they should never be afraid of silence. Friends sitting in comfortable silence is an indication of the comfort between them. Being in that moment together can feel just as fulfilling as a day’s worth of exciting activities.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
— Proverbs 18:24
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
— Proverbs 17:17

As Christian Parents, Should We Allow Our Children To Go On Sleepovers?

Soraya Diase Coffelt Author As the Stars Children's Books Blog

As a mother of two boys, I know all about sleepovers.  You have a house full of kids, who don’t want to sleep and who eat continuously through the day and night.  Sleepovers are fun times for children. But, be cautioned.  You need to protect your children from other children and even their parents who may have a bad influence on them as well as anyone else who may be in the home when your children are there for the sleepover.

I did not welcome invitations from parents whom I didn’t know. Random sleepovers were not permitted.  If I knew the parents and children, I would inquire as to what types of activities were planned; who would be supervising the children; what would they be eating and drinking; and what types of games were they going to play.

    Even after so much scrutiny and diligence though, something slipped by.  I remember picking up my oldest son from a sleepover late one morning.  He was about 10 years old at the time.  As I arrived at the house, I walked in the front door to the living room.  I then observed my son playing a video game with another boy.  As I looked closely, to my shock and dismay, the video game involved hitting and kicking women all over their bodies (including their heads, stomachs, and private parts) in fight scenes.  This was a family who attended church regularly, but the parents were not monitoring the types of video games in their house.  On the drive home, I explained to my son about the problem with that video game and that men should not hit women.  During the following week at church, I even spoke with the parents about the game.    When I observed their nonchalant attitude, I knew my son was not going to spend time there again.