8.5 Discuss friendliness in the context of social interaction
As we have seen, friendship is very important. Consequently if a child fails to get a friend, he becomes miserable and goes through difficult experiences as he grows older. Friendlessness render children vulnerable to involvement in vices. Some friendless children become juvenile delinquents. They easily drop out from schools and are likely to experience psychiatric problems. In extreme cases, friendless children often become suicidal especially at adolescence.
Some of the factors that contribute to friendlessness include:
- Child’s temperaments: there are children who are naturally unfriendly hence may not be ready for any friendship.
- Learning disabilities: Friendship involves understanding, which is a cognitive aspect. A child who cannot reason well may not be in a position to sustain a relationship.
- Social skills problems. As people interact in a relationship they require skills such as, taking turns, sharing, negotiation and the like. The skills are necessary for mutual coexistence. A child without such skills remains egocentric, hence cannot cope with giving and taking that are some of the attributes of friendship.
- Hyperactivity: To get friends one needs to interact with others. There are children who are too impatient to have time to interact and keep on moving from one activity to another. Such children are not likely to develop friendship with others.
- The parenting style in which they are reared: Children who are not comfortable with themselves or those without self esteem due to the way they were handled by their parents find it difficult to establish any enduring relationship.
- Too much involvement in chores: Many childhood friendships develop as children play. If a child is too engrossed in chores to get an opportunity for play with others, he or she is likely to remain friendless.
- Children whose parents are overly critical in their choices of friends: If parents criticize any friendship that a child gets involved in, they cause confusion that may subject the child to friendlessness
- Children with parents whose social skills are poor. Due role modeling in social learning, children brought up by such parents may not acquire skills to deal with others. These children may be crude in their relationship causing others to break away.
- Over-protection by parents. If parents intrude in their children’s friendships to protect them from being “hurt,” others will ridicule and avoid them.
- Parents difficulties in adjusting to a child’s individuality. Children who are always compared with others may feel inadequate to interact with peers who are perceived as superior.