Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Feeling slighly vindicated...

Erik brought home an article from the Herald Sun, June 7th this year about friendship. It was part of a homework assignment (that had to be handed in this morning. Do these teachers NOT realise there is life beyond the school yard?)... The assignment was to have a parent discuss friendship with the child. We were to discuss what made a good friend, and how we were good friends to our friends (roflmao, I LOA'd that one), as well as what skills were useful in managing friendship.

The article that accompanied the assignment was interesting... Michael Grose from Parenting Ideas had written an article on friendship. He listed the common skills of those children who found it easier to make friends, while distinguishing between popularity and friendship (saying that popular kids are often good looking, talented etc. but that these children don't necessarily have a lot actual friends. Fans don't equal friends). He went on to say that in "the olden days" children used to learn the skills of friendship through interacting with siblings, and older and younger people, but that now-a-days, there was a leaning towards a parenting style which put the rights of the individual before the harmony of the group. He drew a link between smaller families sizes and children not being made to share. He also suggested that children these days are not "made" to get along and figure things out, suggesting that instead parents and other adults would step in and sort out for the child.

Anyway, I couldn't help reading the article and feeling slightly vindicated in my belief that having all my kids share a room, even when they might not WANT to, and having them share toys, even if they wanted "their own" which no one else could have, was not actually MEAN. In fact, it seems I could be teaching my kids the very skills they will need to be able to make and maintain friendships.

Something else occurred to me... Perhaps, if my kids have difficulty making friends, it's not actually because THEY lack skills, but because so many OTHER KIDS lacks skills and aren't able to be considerate of others, or share, or be a good listener, or have decent communications skills. Perhaps the other kids have become the self-centred and unhappy kids Michael Grose seemed to think parents needed to be a lot more conscious of avoiding these days...

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Teenagers and the failing parent...