In the recent Wall Street Journal article, Children Need Close Pals, Not Popularity by Jennifer Breheny Wallace, recent research has suggested that building quality friendships rather than chasing popularity, has better long-term effects on children’s self-esteem in addition to lower levels of anxiety and depression. According to Cynthia Erdley, a professor of psychology at the University of Maine, “Having one good friend is enough to protect against loneliness and to help bolster self-esteem and academic engagement.” It is important for parents to encourage and guide their children to build quality relationships early on and teach them that popularity isn’t what’s important. Parents should also share with their children how important their close friends are to them and demonstrate how they continue conversations and share interests with their friends. Teach your children that it’s not the quantity of friendships, but rather the quality of friendships that really matters.
Read the article here for more tips on how to help your children develop skills for making and keeping close friends.