I’m getting to see one of my two newest and bestest friends next week and I’m as over excited as a little child. Because she also happen to be one of my daughters.
Your children can be your best friends too. That’s a lovely thought isn’t it; that you’re not only raising children you’re raising new best friends!
That doesn’t mean cloying or possessive relationships – best friends are not like that anyway. It’s just about relationships and you’re sowing the seeds and building the skills for good ones right from when they’re tiny.
While many parents – and teachers too – often want to be the best friends of the children they are looking after, they sometimes forget what it is about friends that makes them so, what makes for that special relationship.
Sometimes it’s interpreted as all give and no take – that’s not a healthy way to forge relationships. Sometimes it’s misunderstood as making the other feel all-important to the sacrifice of the self – that’s not right either. Some people think that if they always give in to what the other demands it will secure friendships – nope!
That special relationship – in fact all relationships – are built around reciprocation. They’re two-way. Both give and take.
Take respect. Respect is essential in relationships. But it has to be mutual – demanded as well as given. This happens through behaviour. We have to behave in ways that others will respect – always – no short cuts. And we show respect for others if they behave in ways that command it. That’s important whether those others are adults or children.
And this mutuality works whatever it is we are giving and receiving within a relationship; with compassion and empathy, loyalty and support, understanding and trust, honesty and communication. All these are fundamental to good relationships, to good parenting, to good friends. They’re all necessary for relationships to properly work.
And they are demonstrated by the way you behave towards your children and the way in which you guide them to behave towards you and others. Everyone is as equal and important as each other in relationships. It’s never about competition or being boss or one-up. It’s a mutual demonstration of behaviour.
The other thing this approach will show your kids as well as how to be best friends, whether that’s to you or others, is how much they are valued.
Your children will feel as valued and important by having the chance to return that love and support and friendship you give, as they will receiving it. Children feel valued by knowing what they give to you, as well as by what they receive. You’ll know for yourself as an adult that it is lovely having friends you can turn to, but it’s also a lovely feeling knowing that you are a valued and trusted friend to someone else.
These things show children how to be good friends to others, an important part of their progress towards happy and enduring relationships. And one day they might become your best friend too. How lovely will that be!
It is – take it from me!
And I’m off next week to spend some time with one of mine. Hugs will be shared, chat will be endless and cake will be involved! Here’s wishing the same for you one day too!