Throughout their lives, children and adults will meet many different types of people. Some will be friends, many will be acquaintances and there will always be the occasional individual, who because of jealousy or other reasons, seeks to do harm.
How can your child recognize who is a good friend? A parent should not hesitate to discuss this important topic with their child.
Genuine friends should be trustworthy. Friendships should exhibit sincerity, honesty, respect and devotion. A test of good friends is their support and presence when a situation arises that they are needed.
Friends should have common interests; be willing to share experiences and display similar values. They should know when to compromise and be flexible in their approach to situations. However, everybody will display some characteristics that may be annoying. It might be the pattern of speech or topic of conversation that are bothersome. If too many characteristics are annoying, then that individual might not be the right friend.
So-called friends who always brag about their own accomplishments and show no interest in yours, who are only engrossed in their own doings; who have no sensitivity for your feelings; who constantly play the “one ups-man-ship” game when they know they are at an advantage, are not true friends.
Another important factor in any relationship is the sensitivity toward each other. When discussing any topic, a good friend must consider the person to whom they are speaking, emailing or texting before they give a point of view. People should put themselves in their friends’ positions before making a statement that potentially, might be offensive.
Settling disputes by documentation is not ideal. Correspondence, either through a letter, e-mail, text or any other form of writing may imply something that you did not mean to say. A verbal statement can be explained as a misunderstanding, but a written statement cannot be altered.
Friendships require constant ongoing care and nurturing. Misunderstanding and spats are bound to arise and should be defused as quickly as possible. Don’t take any relationship for granted. A good friendship is like a diamond and must be polished periodically to sparkle.
On the other side of the coin, one meets an individual who is not your friend and takes advantage of you. Bullying, usually by an older and bigger individual, is not uncommon.
A child should be instructed to seek out help whenever they are harassed, especially if they are physically or mentally abused. A child must be encouraged to discuss these situations with their parents and not feel so frightened that they keep the incident to themselves. This is especially important to anyone who is mentally or physically abused. One should never be ashamed to seek the help or advice of a parent, a close relative or a person with authority, such as a teacher or principle.
The above article, Friends and Foes, examines children’s relationship with other people and is adapted from a chapter in the book, PREPARING CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE. This book can be obtained without charge as an e-copy by a request on the email site, AskDrMel@yahoo.com. A hard copy can be obtained on Amazon.com.
“Dr. Mel” is a Pediatrician who has always championed the needs of children and represents a non-profit corporation, Rewarding Life, Inc., whose mission is to instruct children how to avoid harm’s way. He is a graduate of Cornell–Weill Medical School and completed his professional training as Pediatric Chief Resident at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is the author of medical and lay articles, the latter under the by-line, “ASK DR. MEL”. Rewarding Life Inc.,a non-profit 501(c)(3)) corporation supllies free teaching materials to schools, drug rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities and other non-profit organizations.
Comments and queries should be addressed to AskDrMel@yahoo.com.