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Help Your Child Make Good Friends

Helping Your Child Make Positive Friends

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Does your child with a learning disability seem drawn to kids that may not be the best choice for healthy friendships or those with behavior problems? This is common among children with learning disabilities, who are at-risk for being socially left out, may need your help in choosing positive friends. These children may make unhealthy choices because of their own low self-esteem and the isolation that can come from having a learning disability.

Help your child make positive choices by teaching him the characteristics of good friends:

  • Do not bully other children.
  • Are kind to animals and younger children.
  • Are respectful of others.
  • Support you and are happy for you when you win a race, get a good grade, or have some other positive happening in your life.
  • Avoid gossiping and are loyal to other friends, even when they are not around.
  • Follow school rules and do not try to talk you into breaking rules, lying, cheating, stealing, or other activities that can hurt you or others.

You can teach these ideas to your child in ways appropriate to her age and developmental level.

  • Model these characteristics yourself and encourage others in the household to follow them as well.
  • Look for teachable moments to talk about these concepts with your child. For example, if she shares information about other children in her class who were disciplined for bullying, ask her guiding questions about it. Was anyone hurt? Was the victim very upset? What could a good friend do to help the child feel better? What are some ways you could prevent bullying if another child asked you to help them pick on someone else?
  • Have your child talk about people they enjoy being with. Ask them what they like about them. What is it about these people that makes them fun to be with?
  • Share and exchange stories about others being good friends.

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