Q. My six-year-old son is very kind-hearted and generous, but unfortunately it is becoming a problem. He’s seen to be a bit of a pushover among his peers and I’m noticing them taking advantage of his kind nature. How do I teach my kid to stand up for himself without changing his considerate disposition?
When you’re six, making friends is a really important process as it leads us to broaden our horizons with the larger social circle that preschool and school brings.
Your son will take huge pleasure in telling you, “he’s my friend, I like him.” He’ll also most likely believe any information his friends tell him, whether it’s the truth or not!
The average six-year-old learns a lot from the feedback they get from their friends and these reactions play a significant role as their self-image develops. Therefore, if he is accepted by his peers, his self-confidence will grow and accordingly, if he’s ridiculed, it might plummet.
In junior school, the desire to be accepted by our peers by any means can lead to unacceptable behaviour and this is why it’s really important to teach values and the difference between right and wrong at an early age. Children who are really keen to make friends can often be very soft-hearted, so it’s important to set some boundaries at an early age.
Make it a house rule where your son can’t give away or lend any of his toys without Mum or Dad agreeing to it first. Also when you’ve a free afternoon or there’s a special occasion coming up, maybe make some treats for your son to bring to school to give to his friends as presents.
As his confidence grows, so will his ability to make decisions that are good for everyone involved, which in turn will strengthen his friendships even more.