Early on, we observe how children connect with one another through verbal and non-verbal communication. It is fascinating to view the specific connections children make even at a very young age. Why does one child connect with one child and not another?
I am writing this topic with all ages in mind. That being said, we need to start at the beginning to understand connections our children make. For that matter, we can look at our own lives and relate as we discover.
While teaching a music program I would observe the children dancing and moving to the music. It was quite clear how some children connected to one another and to the extent -- they would hold hands with the opposite gender. Now, would you say they connected as friends or was there a “love interest.” Occasionally, there was a very innocent kiss on the cheek.
Fast forward to the elementary school level. Will the connections your child makes at this level, influence them later on?
Friendships develop in various ways:
1. Parents connect with other parents and their children “benefit” from this connection. Below is a list of potential ways new friendships can be introduced to the parent and the child:
- Various activities they enroll with their child.
- Religious affiliations.
- Parents Associations through their schools.
- Where you live. Location, location, location!
- Similar interests.
- Independent connections made by the child in a specific environment.
The above list is a short list of probable ways one can establish friendships and therefore, the connections begin.
As time passes, your friendships may continue and your child may not have the same connections they had previously with the “family friend.”
Friendships go their separate ways as the child’s personality and interests develop.
- How does that impact their choice in friends?
- Do the new connections meet your approval?
- Should a parent have the right of approval -- right of veto?
- How will the new friends influence your child/teen?
- Good / Bad = Studying, partying, relationships, “love interests," and other implications?
Fast forward again, off to college they go: independence, decisions, freedom … scary?
Optimistically, as parents, we pray that we have taught our children the right tools to leave the nest.
Many of the readers of this column have commented to me personally or by email, you understand why it is important to understand that the development of a child doesn’t occur as they become a teen. The development starts Day 1 and as parents we do our best to teach our children what is necessary to soar to great heights, to be the best they can be and the importance of tolerance and understanding of others. Since parents aren’t perfect, we mess up every once and a while, we all can learn by example.
The right connection is surely a matter that is subjective.
In closing, connections for children aren’t created on a matchmaking site; we can’t click on our computer. We can guide our children in the right direction and hope we don’t need a search engine to accomplish this goal!
Vicki Kalmus is a certified teacher and writer on ways students and parents organize their time and improve study techniques. Even the brightest of students can lose their way. She lives in Livingston and writes her columns with all ages of students in mind.