I recently took my three year old daughter to the local playground to play. The weather was warm and sunny, so there were plenty of other wee ones for her to play with. Since my daughter is very outgoing and quite social, it didn’t take long for her to find a playmate. Soon, my daughter and her new found playmate were sitting side by side and laughing as they scooped sand inside the sandbox. A short time later the girls were chasing one another under and around the monkey bars.

When it was time to go, my daughter reluctantly said goodbye to her new playmate and walked slowly back to our minivan. As I strapped her into the car seat, she continued to look out the window at the playmate she was leaving behind and then began to cry. “Mommy, we’re going home now. Zoe will miss me. She is my best friend!”

Many children, like my young daughter, use the word ‘friend” quite loosely, so it’s important for them to recognize a true friend. When we teach our children about the characteristics of a true friend, we help them understand the type of friend they should be and make them aware of what a good friend does.  As you talk to your child about friendship,  introduce these eight important friendship traits to your child.

Accepting: A good friend accepts a fellow friend just as he is. A true friend will not try to pressure another into changing his personality, appearance, or preferences just to please them.

Available: Good friends enjoy spending time with each other. Genuine friends don’t hide from or avoid one another. Because they love hanging out together, they make time to see one another.

Compromising: A good friend compromises because it is important for both friends to be satisfied. When true friends have a disagreement (and they will!), a genuine friend seeks a solution that works for both people.

Forgiving: True friends recognize that everyone makes mistakes. A sincere friend quickly forgives and does not recount the error.

Honest: True friendship is not built on false images. A good friend tells the truth in a loving manner, always seeking to encourage and uplift their friends.

Listens: Good friends love to talk to one another, but they also recognize the importance of listening to one another. A good friend will make time to hear the opinions, stories, and concerns of a pal.

Positive:  A true friend has a positive influence and wants to see his other friends succeed. A good friend will not attempt to lead others astray or encourage them to defy the rules of parents.

Trustworthy: A trustworthy friend recognizes that intimate conversations between friends are not to be shared with others. True friends can talk to one another freely and without fear of being exposed.

If we want our children to create and maintain lasting friendships, they must know what genuine friendship looks like. When your child talks about a new friend, take time to review these eight characteristics to see if this new person is worthy of friendship.

About Andrea @Embracing Him

Andrea is a Christian, life long Jersey girl, blessed wife, and mother of three darling daughters, ages 9, 7, and 2. She maintains a blog at Embracing Him, where she writes about faith, family, food, and homeschooling. A former public school teacher turned passionate home educator, Andrea loves teaching her lively trio in the comfort of their home. When not homeschooling or working at her computer, Andrea can be found hanging out with friends and family, serving in the children’s ministries at her church, cheering loudly at track meets and soccer games, cooking up great dishes in the kitchen, and zipping down the highway in her well-loved minivan. Visit Andrea at Embracing Him.

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