Friendships broaden children’s horizons; they share their joys, secrets, and accompany them on their journeys into ever wider worlds. However, friends can also gossip, betray, tease, and exclude. Children can cause untold suffering, not only for their peers but for parents as well. In Best Friends, Worst Enemies, Michael Thompson, Ph.D., Catherine O’Neill Grace, talk about the role that friendships play in the lives of children from birth to adolescence.
This book is about the importance of children’s social lives, the tendency of kids to torment and reject their peers, and the redemptive power of friendship. Every parent and teacher watches children’s relationships played out in front of them every day. We see some isolated kids standing off to the side; we hear children gossip in the car; we see how much children miss their friends. We are able to recall memories from our childhood, both joyful and painful.
All parents tend to experience the pain about their children’s social lives. There doesn’t seem to be a way to escape it. A mother tends to agonize over her child’s social problems. A father assesses whether his son or daughter is well received by a group of children. Whether we like it or not, “we are social animals” the author says. We are able to read the social reactions and strengths of others.
Parents rejoice when their child succeeds, and writhe in distress over their failures. Unfortunately, being a parent means that you cannot always help or be apart of your child’s needs. Sometimes you have to be helpless a lot of the time. Sadly, the list of things that parents cannot do to help seems to be infinite.
Best Friends, Worst Enemies brings to life the drama of childhood relationships, guiding parents to a deeper understanding of the motives and meanings of social behavior. Here you will find penetrating discussions of the difference between friendship and popularity, how boys and girls deal in unique ways with intimacy and commitment, whether all kids need a best friend, why cliques form and what you can do about them. Discussing the social lives of children from pre-school to adolescence, the authors emphasize the importance of healthy family relationships as the basis for friendship. It provides a useful perspective on the range of friendship patterns, normal differences between boys and girls in forming friendships, and more.
How do children learn to connect with others? How do they learn to welcome and trust, social contact? How do they learn to enjoy other people and to love them? Friendships are a vital part of growing up. One of the most important is that children are able to experience and experiment among friends without considering the adult aspect of the situation. While children develop at different rates socially, most research shows that children should have a very good foundation of social skills by the age of six. Friendships are difficult to measure and value.
What is a friend exactly? According to the...