Do you know who your child’s friends are? Are they having a positive or negative effect? One Emory researcher found friendships early in life can determine a person’s emotional, social and mental well-being down the road.
Susan Newborn not only helps her daughters with their homework, but teaches them life lessons like being a good friend.
Newborn said, “It teaches you what to expect from other people. It teaches you how to show up for other people.”
When her oldest daughter Ellie had an issue with a friend she wanted to give her good advice.
Catherine Bagwell told Ivanhoe, “Friends really are relationships between two people who see themselves as equals.”
Psychologist Catherine Bagwell, Professor at Oxford College of Emory University, studied friendships between children and adolescents.
Bagwell said, “How do friendships in pre-adolescents, around 5th grade, how do they predict outcomes in early adulthood?”
Her research found having close friends early in life helps later on.
“Those children were much less likely to show symptoms of depression in early adulthood,” Bagwell explained.
And that’s not all.
Bagwell told Ivanhoe, “Kids who have supportive friendships are more likely to be engaged in school.”
So what can parents do to encourage their child to be a good friend?
“Teaching how to share and cooperate, how to share ideas,” said.Bagwell
Talk to them about managing conflict, and make sure you know who your child’s friends are. Ellie has moved on from the friendship that didn’t make her feel good.
Ellie said, “We just stopped communicating.”
But she and her sister, Emma, know that some friendships will last a lifetime.
Bagwell, also a mom to two children, says knowing you matter to another person contributes to your own feelings of self-worth. For more information and tips for parents to help their child be a good friend please visit oxford.emory.edu