Keys to Help Parents with the What Ifs

1- Be prepared to provide an appropriate response, along with examples. Also, be prepared for the “But, why?”

2- Reassure your child that friendship is a two-way street.

3- Model and role-play with your child positive ways for them to be friends with others. This helps to prepare them for life. For example: give eye contact, smile, be gentle, shake hands, speak calmly and with confidence. Model behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not appropriate… and, talk about the differences between the two.

4- Provide examples of “praise” and “complimenting” others through your praises for your child. For example: “Good job!” or “I’m happy for you!”

5- Be an example of kindness yourself. Allow your child to witness your kindness towards your friends, others, and them, well. As a parent(s), act immediately when you observe your child acting aggressively toward other children. Explain consequences for actions towards others that leads to them feeling sad or mistreated. Encourage your child to tell when they are being mistreated as well as when others are being mistreated. Young children should be encouraged to say “I’m sorry” by acknowledging when they have hurt the other person’s feelings, be it intentionally, or not. Remember to provide an apology as well as an action to reinforce the apology. Does that make sense?

6- Always be mindful! Your child is watching you to see how you behave as the ADULT and as a friend.

7- Beware, as your child is always looking to you to teach and demonstrate appropriate behavior in the home setting, as well as out in the community.

8- Stop, Look, Listen to your child! (Verbal and Body Language). What is your child trying to tell you?