Because strong social ties and friendships are linked with health and well-being to the extent that a good friend is as important as broccoli and wearing your seatbelt! (Listen to The Importance of Building Social Connections). Yet figuring out how to form and maintain healthy relationships while maintaining an independent-self is hard work. People are different so there is no cookie-cutter approach to friendship (thank goodness) but there are strategies and skills that kids can benefit from learning.
- Books That Heal recently suggested the film Chrissa Stands Strong as an opening to discussion about how to navigate teasing and bullying (and why not to treat others that way). She has a lot of other suggestions for using books to open up conversations about relational aggression.
- On the other hand, experts at Hardy Girls, Healthy Women also caution against reproducing the idea that girls are "naturally mean" by showing images and books that demonstrate girls being awesome friends. Similarly, work by Niobe Way and others emphasizes the need for boys to see themselves as kind and connected. Common Sense Media offers a list of "Favorite Movies About Friendship" and there are tons of great friendships in kids books-below are just a few linked lists!
- Tbe Greater Good Science Center offers many posts on promoting healthy relationships -- including allowing for some conflict!
- PBS Parents offers some straightforward advice about supporting kids social relationships