As children become more independent they begin to form relationships with friends, siblings, and other adults. Parent involvement in children’s relationships is extremely important so children can model and learn appropriate and healthy relationships. Let’s talk a little more about how parents can be involved in forming relationships among their children.
Parent involvement with sibling relationships
It’s no secret that sibling relationships begin from the moment of birth regardless of what parents do or don’t do. Establishing healthy sibling relationships however takes a little more work than just letting them get to know each other better. With every new baby that enters the family, a new form of sibling rivalry begins to exist. Learning how to deal with siblings and learning how to build strong relationships can help children form other important relationships in their life. Here are some suggestions on how to foster healthy relationships between siblings:
•Don’t pick favorites. Although there may be days where one child is behaving better than another, try to be very aware of all of the children. Playing favorites with the child that’s having a good day is only going to make the other siblings angry and act out even more. Make sure that you are equally fair with all the children.
•Spend time with every child. This might seem like a stretch with busy work schedules and after school activities, but you should always try to take at least fifteen minutes a day with each of your children. If you have ones at home while others are at school then use that time to read together, sing songs, or just play together. Then when the others get home you can take some time helping with homework or fixing projects, etc.
•Spend time together as a family. Family time is extremely important as this is when we learn how to behave appropriately together. You don’t have to set aside special days or times if you don’t want, you can use meal time as part of your family time in teaching children proper etiquette or talking about important issues at the dinner table. Family time is the one time when everyone can be together and you have the opportunity to teach some very important values and relationship do’s and don’ts.
Parent involvement with children and their friends
These relationships may in fact be some of the most important relationship ever made, and as a parent, you can take an active role in it. As children begin to get older they are more likely to be influenced by their peers, which hopefully are influenced by good healthy adult relationships. Although you have no control over what your child’s friend sees, hears, or does at home, you do have control over what your child sees, hears, and does, as well as what their friends see, hear, and do in your home. Here are some ways you can be more involved with your children and their friends:
•Invite friends over for dinner. Sure it may cost you a little extra, but this is a great chance to get to know your child’s friends and for them to get to know you and your family. Many friends don’t feel comfortable in other people’s homes and don’t want to spend time there. If you can help them feel a little more comfortable around you and be open to them they are more likely to spend time at your house.
•Get to know the parents. While getting to know your children’s friends is a great idea, getting to know the parents is even better. Children’s behavior often stems from the behavior of a parent or guardian. So instead of just getting to know the kids, take some time and get to know their families. Invite them over for dinner or talk with other parents at school or community activities.
Parent involvement in children’s relationships is extremely important if you want them to develop strong, healthy relationships with others. You are their biggest influence so take some time to teach, know, and love them and everyone they come in contact with.