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Social Skills ~ 3 Parenting Tips for Kids Who Buy Friends

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Many kids don't have a clue how to make friends. If your child is buying friends with gifts and candy, it is time to teach him social skills. Inside you'll find 3 parenting questions and 3 parenting tips for teaching your child how to make friends and build character too.

Social Skills Quote on Fickle Friends:

"When you buy a car for the first time, your number of friends increases dramatically" – Jeffrey, age 16

Perhaps Jeffrey learned that his friends liked his car more than they liked him. Liking someone because of their cars, gifts, and money is an insult. You can help your child see through phony friendships by discussing the following questions:

3 Social Skill Questions:
Why is being liked for the gifts you give an insult to you?
How can you be sure your friends like you more than your gifts?
Would you like to make true friends instead of buying them?

Let's pretend your child says "Yes" to the third question. Your next step is to teach social skills that help your child make true friends. One of the best ways is through role playing. Below are three parenting tips to consider.

Parenting Tip #1 – Practice Asking Friendly Questions:

Tell your child, "Asking friendly questions shows you're interested in the other kid. If your friend is talking about his trip to the science museum, ask him to tell you more. He'll enjoy your interest."

Parenting Tip #2 – Praise Your Friend for Something He Did:

Tell your child, "Look for the good things your friend does. If your friend built a model airplane, tell him what you like about the airplane. Make sure you're honest with your praise. He'll like you because you appreciated his special skill."

Parenting Tip #3 – Encourage Your Friend to Try New Things:

Tell your child, "Believing in another person is a great compliment. If your friend is afraid to give a book report in front of the class, tell him ‘I know you can do it.' Offer to listen to him practice. He'll be pleased that you have confidence in him and want to help."

Social Skills Summary:

If your child is buying friends with gifts, discuss the problem with him. Get him to see that there are better ways to make friends. Role-play the social skills he needs to learn. Tell him to practice those social skills with the neighborhood kids and with his classmates. Then give yourself a pat-on-the-back for teaching your child valuable social skills and for building character too.

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If you liked these tips, pick up our Social Skills Kit for Kids

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