Helping Kids See Problems as Opportunities
Making new friends.
Handling challenging situations.
Knowing when to move on…
What do you do when a friend wants to do something that is unkind, thoughtless, or involves breaking the rules?
What do you do when a friend is bossy, self-centered and treats you unkindly?
If a friend treats you badly, is it okay to treat them the same way?
Relationships are messy and there are not always clear cut answers.
Problems = Opportunities
As adults we need to learn to welcome opportunities to help children navigate the murky waters of friendship. The social skills that children learn (or don’t learn!) will serve them all their lives. Everyone has a basic need to belong, to feel loved and cared for. Learning social skills at a young age will equip children in their adult years to handle the problems that arise in any friendship.
Look for opportunities to:
- Teach children to recognize their own self-worth. Kids who feel comfortable in their own skin are often the best at encouraging others to be their best selves as well. By sharing with children your vision for their authentic and best self, you are empowering them to see themselves in their best light.
- Teach children empathy. Children who are good at listening and observing other’s feelings make supportive and thoughtful friends.
- Teach children to see friendship troubles as opportunities to learn and grow. Too often we see conflict as something to be avoided or ignored rather than an opportunity to understand someone else’s perspective and develop a deeper relationship.
It’s not easy being the new kid at school, especially if you are a cat and everyone else is a dog. How do you make friends? Can you even be friends with someone who is totally different from you? Wyatt the Wonder Dog helps solve Ami’s friendship problem with empathy and compassion. A great story for teaching children the critical life skill of making friends.
As a public school elementary counselor, Wyatt offers so much about making and keeping friends. I will use this book as a resource for whole classroom, small group and individual discussions, raising issues that affect real life situations.
~Cindy Little, School Counselor, Georgia Elementary School, Milton Vermont