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The Importance of Peer Relationships for Social-Emotional Development

  admin   |    Apr 11, 2022

In the journey of life, we come across a plethora of people, but some of them become a recurring part of our lives and we call those people our friends or peers. Some friends stay in our lives for a very long time, the ones with whom we make plans for reunions, while others may leave their mark in our lives, and we might move on from those friendships sooner than others. So how do peer groups and their influence impact our childhood?

Playmates and Play behaviours:

The person your child befriends at their first day at school becomes their first friend and the next set of peers who they are comfortable with are the ones they choose to spend their recess time with, either playing or going around the school exploring every nook and corner of it.

Also, Playing and exploring is very important in shaping a child’s future as a leader, team members and an empathetic individual. The virtues that your child can learn from peers who believe in being unified and harmonious ranging from loyalty, comradery, and commitment can be pivotal for them when they get into jobs or even during their higher education. Along with these virtues, children too will learn about interpersonal relationships and build and better their communication skills. They will also become great leaders, who will take initiative for their team and help each member in the team to the best of their abilities.

The Importance of Peer Relationships their Impact on Children’s Development

However, what if the peer group isn’t so unified and only engages in certain activities which are delinquent in nature? A child in such a group often starts to develop habits, especially if such behaviours go unnoticed by an adult, then the behaviour most likely gets reinforced as something they can get away with. These unwanted behaviours, if noticed later can lead to harsher punishment. The group, hence, that one makes in their most formative years can play a key role in predicting the child’s future.

How Can Parents Help?

There are a few things that parents, who are raising 21st century kids can do to help their children who may be stuck in groups that are not as positive and holistic as others, without trying to push them into leaving those groups either by force or verbal coercion

The Importance of Peer Relationships their Impact on Children’s Development

1. Support your child when they make groups:

It is incredibly important to show our support to children when they join a new group. Supporting them will help them feel like they have made a good decision of being part of a new group and that working together is something to be proud of. In today’s day and age, where most of us are locked inside and have not been able to socialize enough, have become very individualized in our approach.

Hence, supporting our kids when they become a part of a group is very important. This can be done through positive verbal reinforcement and providing them with positive affirmations as well.

2. Guide them through the mishaps of being in a group that will not have a positive impact on them:

If your child does get into a company that will not enhance their growth for the future, it is important to find ways wherein you can guide them to make a better and informed choice about the situation. However, do not push them into leaving those groups. They have to learn from their mistakes too and it is important to allow them to make errors.

The Importance of Peer Relationships their Impact on Children’s Development

3. Give them personal experiences from your life:

When your child opens up about some issues that they are facing in their group, it is imperative that you share any experience that you have had about something similar in your life during your childhood. But do not do it in the words of wisdom sort of way, try to talk to them as a friend or someone who is concerned about them. The way you broach the subject with your child will also play a role in determining their actions in their groups later on in life. As parents to children in the 21st century, it is very important that we keep a check on how we behave with them. If we try using Dolphin parenting methods, we can find a more effective way of helping our child when they make their first friend and guide them in a way where they feel comfortable in making their own decision, however, with your help.

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