Parents Education Center

Social Success: Too Little Friend Time Part 25 min read

This article was originally published by Nicholeen Peck on Teaching Self-Government.

Last week I talked about how there are certain skills which are important to possess for social success. These skills are different from the self-government skills I teach in my Parenting A House United book and audio seminars. These are the seven skills I teach my children: (I know this is going to be a quick list, and anticipate questions on some of it, but want to be as to the point as possible.)

  1. Shyness is not a good social skill. It will make it hard to make friends. I don’t coddle my children if they don’t want to do something. I simply tell them what they should do to find happiness in the situation and then leave it to them. A child who is babied when shy will not conquer the social set-back. I need to be clear that there are introvert and extrovert people, but introvert, doesn’t mean shy. Shyness is a form of selfishness. A person who is shy wants all the social control and will not trust another person in conversation. They are also completely controlling how much a person can really know them. This is self protective. Self-protection like this is often dishonest, and selfish. The person is trying to use social omission to maintain an aloof, or controlling status.
  2. If you want a good friend, whether sibling or neighbor, you make %70 of your communications be about them and only %30 be about you. Put the other people’s social needs ahead of your own unless they are immoral, or dangerous.
  3. You need time away from friends in order to fully appreciate them.
  4. Even your great friends will do things differently than our family does. That is okay. Respect their differences and stay true to who you are. A confident person, even if socially different, commands respect and attracts people.
  5. Don’t ever talk about your friends behind their backs or make mean jokes in front of them. Thinking about a person’s bad qualities will make you not be able to be a good friend.
  6. Make sure your best friends are people who have strong qualities you want to possess, people who respect your ideas, and people who are morally similar to you. It is draining to always stand alone. People who don’t have supportive friends have a hard time accomplishing their life’s visions.
  7. Last, parents are the perfect people to discuss friendships with. We talk about friendships each week and make plans for successful friendships. It’s deliberate, and very effective.

My Child Doesn’t Want to Play: A Question

‘My kids have the opposite issue, and I’m not sure if I should be happy about it or worry. My 9 year old son never asks to play with others his age. I’m told he’s well liked at school, but he doesn’t seem to click or be interested in playing or inviting anyone over. He has a more mature personality than most boys his age, but I worry that he’s starting to seem lonely or depressed at times. His only real friends are his cousins that live out of town. I’ve tried to suggest that he play sports or join in group classes or something, but he isn’t at all interested. He is very involved and excels in music, however, but that doesn’t often involve others his age. He interacts in scouts and at church with the few boys his age that attend. Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated!”

Nicholeen’s Answer

I would probably need more information to really answer this. First, how old is he? Second, what does he do at home? Any computer games? If so, they are very addictive and can make friend time not seem fun. Third, does he need a break? He is with other children all day, maybe he needs some alone time. I know I crave my alone time at the end of each day. Fourth, does he get lots of mom and dad time? Many children who are not really ready to be with other children all day at school will want to just be with mom and dad in the off time to make them feel more balanced. Fifth, does he talk to the family and want to do things with the family group? If so, I would say you are fine socially. If he withdraws socially from the family, then he is either detaching for some reason (pornography, video games, TV…), or he is struggling emotionally. He may see himself different from his friends too. Some children don’t find children they have things in common with. This can be difficult. If he likes the cousins, I would foster that relationship and the family relationships most.

If he is confident at home and with the cousins, soon he will reach out to other children he finds interesting. The one thing to watch for is finding the wrong friends. Historically, the wrong friends are often the most accepting and can lead children astray. Again, weekly mentor meetings with him would be helpful. I talk about them in the book, on the Audio Seminar Set and in more detail on the 10 Step Teaching Self-Government Implementation Course. Of course all of these thoughts are based on what I perceive from your question. I could be wrong. If I had the opportunity to really know you and your children, I would be able to know your exact needs. Thanks for the great follow up questions to the previous articles.

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