Friendship among children
Establishing friendships is an important developmental goal of early childhood. Friendships established during the preschool years create valuable contexts to learn and practice skills essential to children’s social, cognitive, communicative, and emotional development (Berndt & Keefe, 1992). Through interacting with friends, children learn the give and take of social behavior in general. They learn how to set up rules, how to weigh alternatives and make decisions when faced with dilemmas. They experience fear, anger, aggression and rejection (Hartup, & Stevens, 1999). Friendships also benefit children by creating a sense of belonging. Through friendships and belonging to a group, children improve their sense of self-esteem. The support of friends help children cope with troubling times and through transition times - moving up to a new school, entering adolescence, dealing with family stresses, facing disappointments. In addition, successful friendships in early childhood contribute to children’s quality of life and are considered important to life adjustment. Friendships are not just a luxury; they are a necessity for healthy psychological development. During the elementary school years children generally choose friends who are similar to themselves and who share their interests. At this age children become increasingly group-oriented; the most well-liked children are those who can manage social relations within a group and think of activities that are fun. Research shows that children with friends have a greater sense of well-being, better self-esteem and fewer social problems as adults than individuals without friends (Hartup & Stevens, 1999). On the other hand, children with friendship problems are more likely than other children to feel lonely, to be victimized by peers, to have problems adjusting to school, and to engage in deviant behaviors (Rose & Asher, 2000). Children who were completely isolated and had no...
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