Maria will be going live every other week, answering your questions, and today’s big question was how do you help your tween (a child aged 8-12) on friendships, self-esteem and happiness? Maria will be breaking this answer up into several videos, since it’s such a big question! You can watch the first video, on friendships, here.

Tip #1 – When it comes to friendship with your tween – you want to help them have more than one friend. The more the merrier! They should have friends in their class, outside their class, at church, sports, in hobbies, and different social groups. Social groups can be tricky, because they can feel like clichés. You want to enforce that it’s great to have.

Tip #2 – Give them time to foster their friendships. Think about your own life – you feel better when you have time with your friends! Don’t assume that your children have enough time, at school, to foster those friendships. Make time, on the weekends and evenings, to help your children build those friendships. This includes time for them to have disagreements and arguments. Why? This helps them with problem solving – how will they get through these
issues with one another? Another great part of friends coming over is that you can spend time with your children’s friends as well and get to know them. Have them stay for dinner and engage them in conversation. Have a game night and enjoy this time!

Tip #3 – Ask your child “what makes a good friend?” If your child says they value honesty, loyalty and someone who’s funny, but their best friend is none of those things, you need to bring it up to them. Not all of their friends will have ALL those values, but help your child to maintain boundaries in their friendships. Help them to see that friends do not talk behind their back, or
disrespect them. Teach them that friends should be honest and respectful. When a friend doesn’t follow those boundaries, help them role play ways to approach that friend and say “the way you are treating me is not ok”.

Tip #4 – Encourage diversity in friendships. You want your child to know that they can be who they are in friendships. They do not need to conform to who others are, just to be friends. Their interests can, and should be varied!

Tip #5 – Expect drama!! Know it’s coming and know it will happen. It’s a part of life. How can you help? Teach them to reflect before reacting. Ask your children to think about their friend and ask, “why do you think they were upset?”, and “what can you say to your friend to help the situation?” Help your children to react from reflection and not emotions.

Remember that Maria alternates these videos between her author page and the private Empowering Kids with Character page, which provides more ideas on the monthly theme and also support from fellow parents and educators!

Don’t forget to add the Empowering Kids With Character Flash Briefing on your Amazon Alexa app or Google Play!

Transcribed by Mandy Bush, Executive Assistant