The Value of Friendships & Identifying True Friends

My oldest started school this year and on her first day she came home excited and stated “I made a new friend.” As all of us remember, friends were those people who truly carried us through good and bad times.

My oldest started school this year and on her first day she came home excited and stated “I made a new friend.” As all of us remember, friends were those people who truly carried us through good and bad times.

Unfortunately, there also were those pseudo friends that you thought were your friends, but really had other motives. Since we have moved to our new home we have had to deal with these pseudo friends, as everyone is a “friend” to a five year old.
We have some neighborhood kids that tend to hang out near our house and Diva-J has always been drawn to enjoying playing with kids that are older than her more than kids her own age. Sometimes this is fine, while at other times she can get taken advantage of by these older kids.
There is one, as I call it, fair weather friend that tends to come around on some days and on other days will not give Diva-J the time of day. This same “friend” tends to come over when Diva-PJ is outside as she likes babies.
It is difficult to help Diva-J understand the difference between friendship and real friendship. She also does not always understand the underlying mean nature that sometimes is occurring around her, as when I address the issue, she defends these “friends.”
It is at these times when I am at a loss for words, as I want Diva-J to have friendships, but at what cost. This also leads back to an earlier post that I had about being able to let go. It also though goes into the idea of when do you step in and save your child from others. I tend to try and let Diva-J learn some things by herself, but there have been times when I knew that she was being taken advantage of where I stepped in and said enough is enough and set the record, and the child affronting my child, straight.
So how do you teach your son or daughter about who is a true friend and who are just going through the motions so that they are somewhat held harmless? What have all of you done in the past?
In looking into this I found a few links I thought I would share with you all!
Some questions you should ask yourself include:
  • What has sustained your long-lasting friendships?
  • Are their common traits/characteristics of these friendships and if so what are they?
  • What concerns you about the friends that your child has?
As you begin to answer these questions you may find it necessary to revisit them over time as your answers and definitely the answers about your children will change as you all change and grow.

Being more then just a DAD

As of late I’ve been so consumed with my own life I havent been a good friend to many and really a little bit of a bad son.  My Father and I have had a great relationship – yes, my dad was one of those pushy – get yourself a job type Dads. I know that it was all just the concept of unsugar coating life – work equals money, nothing is given freely in this life.  The points in my life where my Dad was truly just in father mode – pushing for education, pushing for success in sports, working on developing me as a better person then him were the same points at which we strained to have a friendship.

Because of my parents divorce those periods of time became or seem to become longer as he had less daily interaction with us but was there weekly. That role shifted from friend/father to disciplinary more and more… it wasnt until I finished my first semester of high school did it go back to the amazing friendship, maybe because he know I was all accepted into college and I was going to have to be more independent there as well.

Since that point we’ve been best friends more then just a Dad encouraging or directing or giving advice but true friends. Sure every now and again he needs to step into the role of Dad but no matter what I’m still his child and I get that but I’d much rather have him as a friend – he’s easier to talk to, understand the problems of juggling work/life, seems to understand how things are different being a father a generation later.

Most importantly he’s always been there for me… no matter the role! This post reminds me to give him a call and say thank you…. because – well just because!

Friendship Fears: Out From Under My Wings

The wonderment of the human development, the ability to adapt and move forward, it is truly a sight to behold. Standing in awe of my son. The first of the brood moving on to bigger and better things. This little guy is not scared of anything, so why should Dad be? I believe it is just part of being “Daddy”. Fears come, and fears go, and in the end, all is well.

Two weeks ago, my son started his first year at preschool. I was so proud of him. Walking off from the apartment, stepping into a new adventure in life with a gigantic smile and open arms. His winning personality and welcoming aura precedes him as he walks off into unknown territory. I was sad I could not be there on his very first day but the duty of being the provider called, and work had to be done.

Since then I have been home several mornings to watch him walk down to school. The preschool Caleb goes to is just down the sidewalk from my apartment. He doesn’t like us taking him down anymore, he would rather walk down with the rest of his new found friends. My little man is growing up so fast, and it is happening right in front of my eyes everyday. He is stepping up, becoming more of an independent being, and forever changing with an amazement that captivates me at the core of my heart.

However, with the pride I have in my growing little man, there were some fears, no doubt. Until he started preschool, Caleb did not have much play time with other kids. A few play dates, but never time away from mommy and daddy, with more than 3 kids around. I had sometimes wondered if we had messed up somewhere along the way. Perhaps having him by our sides all the time had somehow disabled the abilities to interact well and know how to respond to the strange new world, and new people around him.

Then just today, I had the pleasure of watching him on the playground. I watched as he rode on a tricycle that was 4 sizes too big for him (considering he is small for his age it was quite the hilarious sight), watched as him and another little boy played on the swing set and slide, and I stood in awe. All my fears had been laid to rest about how he would interact with new people. I watched as that welcoming aura, winning personality, and that gigantic grin, catapulted him to “best friend” status with a child he had never met until starting school.

The wonderment of the human development, the ability to adapt and move forward, it is truly a sight to behold. Standing in awe of my son. The first of the brood moving on to bigger and better things. This little guy is not scared of anything, so why should Dad be? I believe it is just part of being “Daddy”. Fears come, and fears go, and in the end, all is well.

Modeling What it Means to Be a Friend

What does it mean to be a friend. As a guy and as a father I think this is not always an easy thing to explain or talk about. As guys we talk about hanging out and many times talk about truly surface things when it comes to friendships. Yet, in thinking about this, what is this showing our children? I have been lucky to have some friendships in the past and even some now that have been much more than this. The types of friendships that you know that you can count on for anything come thick or thin. These are the types of friends that you can turn to when things get rough and you can’t even turn to your partner (though hopefully you could turn to them for anything as well).

I see in my own children the day-to-day struggles of friendships. My eldest daughter tries to make friends with so many kids and some of them are great (in a father’s opinion), while others are truly toxic. I use that word even though it does have negative connotations. There are some friends that she has made and even ones that I have made in the past that are all about the other person. Everything is always on their terms, and no matter what you say or do it always remains this way. I know for me, I have come to learn over the years that these “friendships” do not really last, or at least they are not very beneficial for my own personal well being. I know that Diva-J and Diva-PJ will have to learn these lessons as well.

As a father I try my best to help my girls understand what friendship means. My girls are still quite young to completely understand this, yet day-by-day I do what I can, especially with Diva-J (my eldest) to make her think about what she likes about a person and why they are her friend. This is not always an easy conversation to have with a six year old, but I think it is worth it and will help her ultimately in the end.

So for me, I try to let my girls see that being a friend is so much more than just hanging out, it is to be present, to be helpful and caring and to be able to be there when the other person really needs you. For me, my modeling has just begun.

What about each of you, how do you model this for your own children?