How do you teach your little ones the value of true friendship? Forming relationships with peers is an integral part of development, but not always an easy task. Friends will come and go and there will be heart break along the way.
It’s not easy to see your children suffering at the hands of their so called friends. When my own children have been through tough times I have really felt for them. I remember what it was like to have friends suddenly turn their back on you after deciding that they no longer wanted you as a friend. I remember being blanked in the school yard, being picked on and made to feel small and insignificant. I remember wondering what did I do wrong?
But I also learnt to stand up for myself and somewhere along the way I realised that the people who hurt me were never my friends. Friends should never make you feel bad about yourself. True friends would never belittle you in front of others or make you feel grateful for their friendship. They should never make you feel sad.
I know through experience that a true friend will always be there when you need them. They will support and encourage you, make you laugh and be a shoulder to cry on. You know that when you are with a true friend you can always be yourself, share your problems and never feel judged.
I try to tell my children this but they are still young and they don’t understand it. They haven’t found a true friend yet, one they can call a kindred spirit for life. I’m lucky that I have a friend like that. Someone who has known me for 27 years, who I have grown up with and experienced good times and bad times with. It doesn’t matter if I don’t speak to or see my best friend for weeks because I know that as soon as I do, it will be as though we had only spoken the day before. Nothing ever changes between us.
My advice to my children is that they should walk away from the children who hurt them or make them feel bad. To stop wasting their time by trying to make these children like them. One day I hope they will make a friend like mine. Then they will finally know what true friendship means and the bad times they have suffered along the way will pale in to insignificance.
Until that day, all I can do is continue to mop up their tears when things go wrong, give them a hug and tell them how special they are.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful friend. You know who you are.