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Unformatted text preview: Bullies, Princesses, and Best Friends Best
Dr. Leilani Brown Childhood Friends Childhood Do you remember your first best friend? Friends are so important in children’s lives. They broaden horizons, share adventures, and They provide companionship. provide But friends can also shatter the peace in school But classrooms by gossip, betrayal, teasing, and exclusion. exclusion. Friends Forever Friends
Molly met Patty when another girl tripped Molly in the Molly lunch room on the first day of school and she spilled her chocolate milk on Patty’s new white sweater. her That day began a friendship that lasted a lifetime. All That through elementary school, middle school, and high school, the two girls were best friends. When they each married, within a year of each other, they kept their friendship alive by email. Today, Molly and Patty are both grandmothers and still best friends. Each year they take a trip together. Benefits of Friendship Benefits Companionship Social Comparison Emotional Support Stimulation Ego Support Affection Intimacy The Social Lives of Children The This best selling book is This written for the popular culture. culture. It is a window into the It importance of children’s friendships and the dynamics of their social lives. lives. It contains many It interesting anecdotes and insights. and Did You Know? Did In early childhood, play forms the basis for In friendships. friendships. In middle childhood, between the ages of 5 In and 12, making friends becomes a mission of primary importance. primary The formation of childhood friendships is the The foundation for all future relationships in life. foundation Companionship Companionship Children enjoy having someone of their own age to Children share each day, devote time, energy, and fun to the relationship. relationship. Sharing activities is the basis of early childhood Sharing friendship. Older children become friends with those who share Older the same likes and dislikes. Best friends often look and dress alike. and Children are usually, but not always, best friends with Children someone of the same gender. someone Emotional Support Emotional Friends help each other get through some Friends difficult times. difficult Other children may tease, bully, and exclude, Other but if a child has a best friend, these experiences are less devastating. experiences Friends give each other praise, reflect a vision Friends of the other that is attractive and worthwhile. of Friends also stand up for each other when Friends trouble strikes. trouble The Princess The Mandy came to preschool in her best princess dress Mandy because she was going to a birthday party after school. school. Jessie started a rumor that Mandy thought she was the Jessie Princess of the class and was a “stuck up pig” Princess Mandy cried when she heard the rumor shouted Mandy across the playground. Risa, Mandy’s best friend, put her arm around Mandy and said, “Don’t cry, she just wants to have a dress like yours. Besides, you’re the prettiest.” Mandy stopped crying and felt better. prettiest.” Social Comparison Social Friends provide information through feedback Friends about social standing in class, in sports teams, and in other relationships. and In early childhood, friends conference about In someone else’s opinion of them, just as they continue to do through adulthood. continue The story of Jessie, Mandy, and Risa is played The out in different ways every day and is a normal part of childhood social life. part Children without Friends Children Frequently disliked by their peers and are rarely chosen as a best friend. They show high rates of negative behavior and low They rates of positive behavior. rates They are rarely chosen as team members and are They often seen eating alone at lunch time and standing in a corner of the playground. corner They may become targets for bullies. Often these children are unattractive and unkempt. Consequences of Friendlessness Consequences Children without friends, rejected by their peer Children group, are at risk socially and emotionally: group, Higher rates of depression in childhood and Higher adulthood adulthood Higher rates of anxiety Higher Low self-esteem Poorer performance in school Higher rates of obesity Neglected Children Neglected While not unpopular, these children often “slip While through the cracks” in school and are unnoticed by both peers and adults. both They are quiet, retiring, and show low levels of both They positive and negative behaviors. positive They are not disliked by peers, but are still rarely They chosen as a best friend. chosen They may be attractive, but do not show their good They looks to an advantage. looks Two neglected children may easily become best Two friends. friends. Popular Children Popular Frequently chosen by peers as a best friend. Popular members of all activities at school and Popular in social circles. in Other children are drawn to them and Other approach them easily in friendship. approach Often, these children are physically attractive, Often, well dressed, and have good emotional control and a ready smile. and All it takes is one best friend All Research has shown that even when a child is not Research accepted by the larger group of peers, if they have one best friend, everything will be ok. one Children’s friendships may be seen as practice arenas Children’s for future adult relationships, including marriage. for Children’s friendships are powerful predictors of Children’s adult social success. adult It is helpful for parents to know how to foster It meaningful childhood friendships. meaningful A Note for Teachers Note Research has shown that teachers may indirectly Research influence the popularity of children. influence Teachers respond subconsciously in more positive Teachers ways to attractive, well dressed children and to female children. They smile at them more often, criticize or correct them less often, and see fewer errors in these children. errors Parents who are aware of this tendency may make an Parents effort to dress their children attractively and coach them to be “nice to the teacher.” them Parental Roles Parental Parents can help foster good friendships for their Parents children. children. Mothers of toddlers arrange play dates and form Mothers friendships of their own. friendships Preschoolers get to know each other at the park, in Preschoolers the neighborhood, and at preschool. the Parents should invite the friends of their children over Parents to visit often, take them on trips to the zoo, the park, and to special events. and Children need to know that their friends are welcome Children at home. at A Poem for Your Pocket Poem As childhood friends, we grew up together, Swearing to be friends forever and ever. Sometimes we would argue and fight, Other times we would laugh and stay up all night. We went from playing with games and toys, To talking and dreaming about different boys. My thoughts and feelings, to you I would confide, Never having anything to hide. Friends we do remain, Things changing, and things staying the same. To each other we still listen and share, About each other, we will always care. ...
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- Spring '08