Importance of Social Life of Children
Need of Social Life
Friends influence each other's behaviors in many ways. Children learn how to cooperate, solve problems and get along with others through interaction with their peers. Friendships are not just a luxury; they are a necessity for healthy psychological development. Research shows that children with friends have a greater sense of well-being, better self-esteem and fewer social problems as adults than individuals without friends.
Friendships through the ages:
Although infants respond to each other, social play becomes prominent during the second year of life.
Two and 3-year-olds mostly have playmates from their neighborhood or nursery school. During the school years, the child's circle of friends widens and increases. Compared to early years, school aged children interact more with each other and participate more in social activities, most of which are task-oriented, such as working in teams and on projects together. Because of their increased communication skills, they are able to understand another person's point of view, they cooperate and share, while aggression and fighting decreases.
Between 10 and 14 years, children's groups become more structured and membership to the friend group may be required. Social pressures intensify and cliques may form, often around shared interests like sports and music.
At about age 12, friendships are judged on the basis of understanding and sharing inner thoughts. Preadolescents and adolescents help each other to deal with their psychological problems such as fear, loneliness and sadness. By the time they are adolescents, most of them prefer to spend more time with their peers than with their family.
10 Advantages of friendships: -Encouraging children's friendships
- Helps the child to develop emotionally and socially.
- They provide a training ground for trying out different ways of relating to others.
- Children learn the give and take of social behavior in general.
- They learn how to set up rules, how to weigh alternatives and make decisions when faced with dilemmas.
- They learn how to win, how to lose, what's appropriate, what's not.
- They learn that different people and different situations call for different behaviors and they come to understand the viewpoints of other people.
- Friends provide companionship and stimulation for each other.
- They come know themselves in a better way.
- Through friendships and belonging to a group, children improve their sense of self-esteem.
- The solace and support of friends help children cope with troubling times and through transition times - moving up to a new school, entering adolescence, dealing with family stresses, facing disappointments.
What schools can do in Encouraging children's friendships:
- Children are taught social skills individually by an adult coach or counselor and then they practice the new strategies.
- In Peer pairing therapy, two children with difficulties interact while they receive feedback from an adult coach. In some instances, a shy child is matched with a more outgoing child.
- Conducting Conflict resolution programs, which teach children alternate ways of handling problems through peer counselors or adult-supervised techniques.
- Collaborative learning, cooperative assignments and games or "buddy systems" may encourage positive peer interactions.
- Reinforcing of appropriate social skills to enhance a socially reluctant child's social interaction.
What Parents Can Do Encouraging children's friendships :
- Let your child know that you feel friendships are important in an individual’s life.
- Respect your child's social style; some children do best with a group of friends, and some do best with a few close friends. Some make friends quickly, and some may be slow in making friends.
- Find practical ways you can help your child to make friends with other children. This is especially important if your child is shy or reluctant about peer interactions. For example, be flexible about family schedules so that your child can find time to be with friends. Offer your home or offer to accompany children on outings. You might also make arrangements for your family to spend time with another family that has a similar-age child. Or, you can invite your child’s friend while going on a trip.
- Getting to know their friends is a crucial part of getting involved in their social life. Inviting them into your home and making them feel loved and comfortable will help you feel better about whom they're spending their time with.
- -Get to know their teachers since they see and hear what kids do all day long and can provide you with helpful insight as to who your child hangs out with and what types of activities they seem to enjoy together.
- Getting to know the family of your child’s friend may help you to feel more comfortable about letting your child go over to their houses.
- A great way to always know what's going on with your child and their social life is to communicate with them.
Learning how to be involved in your child's social life may take a little extra effort on your part but is definitely worth it. Knowing your child and being involved with them and their friends will also help you to stay close to them and build a healthy relationship.