The importance of being with friends. Since childhood

Source: Photo: Pixabay

“My 9-year-old son is always busy between school and sports and has few friends. When he is at home, he plays with his playstation and mobile phone. When I was a child we were always around playing, while he doesn't play with his mates. In my opinion, however, it is important that you learn to be with others ... "(Francesco)

The psychologist and psychotherapist Rosanna Schiralli answers.

Dear Francesco, you are absolutely right: it is important that children, from an early age, learn to be with others: it is part of the "ontological status" of the human being! It has been discovered, thanks to neuroscience, that from birth, just as we have legs to walk and vocal cords to speak, we also have mirror neurons to connect and connect with others. Which need to be trained just like the legs or vocal cords.

And socialization offers the best training

It is true that in the past people spent much more time on the street, where they had more opportunities to meet friends, while now adults and children are more and more busy and, when you finally return home, you have no desire to go to the park or see other people, especially if at home there are many beautiful technological games that allow you to spend (and let us spend!) a lot of time in peace. And maybe even to get in virtual contact with others.
But that's not the same thing.

It is not by chatting with friends that you become social. In a chat I can send you a smiley face when I am crying instead, because there is the screen that acts as a cover. Instead, you have to face each other to look each other in the eye, understand verbal and non-verbal language but above all reflect yourself in the moods of the other. Being together with a friend, the child may discover that he is not the only one to feel certain emotions, that the other also has fears, shame, hopes, joys similar to his. Precisely in an age, such as that of growth, in which it easily happens to feel different, uncertain and alone with one's inner world. Sharing an emotion or a problem means having the opportunity to find a solution together. Or, simply, resize it and not be afraid of it anymore.

Read also: Child excluded from companions? 8 tips for parents.

And it is not with a video game that you learn to respect the rules
In a video game, whoever has the remote controls the game and, if he doesn't like the rules, he switches or turns it off. When you are with real friends, you have to learn to share the rules and respect each other's boundaries. In a chat or on a social network, when a friend no longer likes you, you remove him from the group, unfriend him or send him an angry emoticon. When you are in a real group, however, to continue playing you have to get out of your self-centeredness and relate to others, manage conflicts, negotiate. It can be said that socialization activities done by children are a bit of technical tests of cooperation, sharing, frustration, healthy competition, alternation of roles, which are needed now and will be used for the future life as adults. An opportunity not to be missed.

Read also: Quarrels between children, 9 tips for parents

We build the social life of our children
We therefore look for all the opportunities to let the child do his homework together with a friend, we invite some companion home from time to time, we take our child as often as we can to the playground or other places where he can meet other children, we organize small trips with lots of picnics. The important thing is to encourage him, not to give in to his - presumed - laziness, because more than laziness perhaps it is an attitude of defense and fear of facing confrontation with others.

Socialization is a process that is built, but we need the help of us grownups.

  • psyche
  • children education
  • friendship
  • socialization
  • compagnia
  • 3-5 children years
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