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Yes, a parent is a child's first best friend. When your child turns two, you realize that what you really want to be is your child's best parent! By age three, children start playing and interacting with other children. They look forward to seeing certain children and making friends. Parents should encourage their children to play with others and be instrumental in setting up opportunities for them to join in age-appropriate activities with other boys and girls.
Kids have a better attitude about school and learning when they have friends at school. Friends affect school performance by giving a sense of belonging and security to children. Self-confidence and social skills all develop in the school-age child by having friends who encourage them and share their approval.
If you are to succeed as your child's best parent, you need to use your time wisely. If you can be the one person your child feels free to talk to about anything and yet set boundaries, rules and expectations for behaviors, you are an exceptional parent. If you can listen and not lecture and be full of empathy and understanding, you are an exceptional parent. If you remember to have eye contact and ask questions so your child knows your love and loyalty, you are an exceptional parent. If you accept that your love for your child includes protecting, guiding and teaching, while realizing you must look forward to a child "putting on his own feathers" during adolescence, you are a caring parent. If you can embrace your child's friends and realize their important role in the development of your child's future, you are a great parent.
I have been nurtured my entire life by caring friends and family who have both encouraged and tempered me. I am grateful for their true understanding of my limitations and their greater love and gratitude for my strengths. I am grateful that my parents gave me opportunities to attend wonderful schools, choose my own church, participate in school clubs, go to summer camps and participate in sports and make lots of friends. My lifelong and best friends no doubt nurtured the personality and determination and love that I share with others today.
Barbara Wynne is the founding publisher of Indy's Child Magazine.