Friendships are an amazing (and sometimes challenging thing!) for children of the ages ten to fifteen to really navigate! This week is friend week at The Parenting Passageway, and we will discover what children ages 10-15 really need to make friendships that thrive!
Ten- year -olds really love their friends, and it can be astounding all that a ten-year-old will know about their friends. While it is true that some ten-year girls are in a dramatic fight with their friends for what appears every minute, many ten-year- olds really appreciate having loyal friends. If neighbourhood friends exist, that is probably the healthiest and most wonderful relationship for children. Neighbourhood loyalty can be strong, and a lot can be learned participating in neighbourhood games and large groups. (Sadly, this doesn’t seem to exist as much as it used to). Ten is also the age for forming groups and even participating in groups such as Girl Scouts. Ten generally is not a hugely exclusionary age, although they may “forget” to invite people to a birthday party or their club that they made up – they may not really want that person there, but they don’t want to hurt that person’s feelings or lose that person who is a “friend”. Lots of people are their “friends” – even if it is just an acquaintance from the next neighbourhood over.
What you can do to help: Talk to your children about how to be a good friend, what is mean behaviour, and what is plain bullying. Encourage the neighbourhood group and lots of outside play. This is the age of games with rules that the children themselves make up (and break, and change). No adults should be needed. If fighting erupts, don’t be dramatic with your child and give it a chance, because they may make up in a day or two. Particularly if the arguments are amongst those in a neighbourhood, it will blow over. Do not give a child this age a phone! If you think your child is being bullied, try the tips on this website. I like this article because it talks about the difference between bullying and when exclusion is or isn’t bullying. Social media exacerbates this, so please do not give your child a phone!
Eleven -year-olds can be a having a time of sadness and anger in general. Eleven-year-olds often yell, cry, stomp away, become exceedingly competitive, and act very silly or giggly. Eleven usually marks the beginning of choosing friends not just because of proximity, but because “we get along”. Best friends are really important for many (not all) at this age, particularly boys. Girls may still have more of a group to hang around with. There may still be quarrelling, but most eleven-year-olds can work things out.
What you can do to help: Have your home be a place where eleven-year-olds want to land and be. Help eleven-year-olds be outside to play and get physical energy out. Talk to your child about being a good friend, and also about the confidences and loyalty that go along with being a “best” friend. If they are super competitive, talk to them about how that fits in (or doesn’t) in being a great friend – does super competitiveness lead to incredible friendships and make people comfortable? When is competitiveness healthy and not healthy?
Carrie, The Parenting Passageway