Helping Your Child Make and Keep Friends

What Children Look for in a Friend?

Is this child fun to be with?
Is this child trustworthy?
Does this child help me achieve my goals?
Does this child make me feel good about myself?
Is this child similar to me?

Social Tasks Involved in Peer Relationships

Joining a group or activity
Coping with success
Dealing with conflict
Defending self
Coping with failure
Staying involved
Making a friend
Sticking up for a friend
Coping with rejection
Responding to requests
Making requests
Helping others
Maintaining a conversation
Coping with teasing
Being supportive of others

Although rejected children differ in many ways, there does seem to be something they have in common:

A large proportion of rejected children are lacking in positive interaction skills, such as being cooperative, helpful, refining non-verbal communication, timing, spatial awareness, verbal language appropriateness and inappropriate dress or poor personal hygiene. This suggests that it should be possible to help these children by teaching them positive ways to interact with others.

(This information has been compiled from studies done by National Network for Child Care- Gladys A. Williams, Dept. of Psychology, U of Illinois- Urbana)

(c) Judy H. Wright

This handout prepared by Judy H. Wright, a parent educator and PBS consultant. You will find a full listing of books, tele-classes, and workshops listed at You have permission to use the article providing full credit is given to author. She may be contacted at 406-549-9813 or

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