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Life at AISK

 

Pearls of Wisdom Conversations

On November 5, AISK held its first parent book club meeting of the 2019-2020 school year.  AISK high school counselor, Chalanie Stiebel, and I, elementary and middle school counselor, Lisa Harvey, hosted a discussion on the book Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children by Michael Thompson. Read on to hear about our key takeaways, namely that parents need to relax and keep their kids’ friendship dilemmas in perspective!


In his book, Thompson offers sketches of what friendship looks like at each developmental stage, from infancy through college, and talks about the problems that are typical of each stage. Best Friends, Worst Enemies has many practical tips for how parents can help their children make and keep friends, but surprisingly, the underlying message is that parents need to relax. Thompson states that:


  •  the average childhood friendship lasts just one year

  • the average number of friends a child has is just five


Thompson recommends that parents support their child’s friendships by making friends feel welcome in their home and creating a wide range of friendship opportunities for their child.  He encourages parents to be good friendship role models by prioritizing good, healthy friendships in their own lives.


One crucial bit of advice is to empathize with your child’s pain, but keep it in perspective.  Although it’s highly distressing to see your child in pain, the vast majority of these problems resolve themselves faster than you could ever dream up a solution on your own.  My advice is much like Thompson’s: offer your child a soft place to fall at the end of a hard day and continue building resilience in your children by not solving their problems for them but rather by expressing your faith in their ability to be okay even when the situations around them are not okay.


I highly recommend this book to all parents, and even more, I highly recommend coming to a book club meeting.  Parenting can be a struggle, and having a supportive community can go a long way. It was lovely to see some new faces along with our returning book club attendees this month, and we hope to see even more people come out for our next book club meeting.  We will be meeting on January 16, at 7:45 am, to discuss the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  Our third and fourth quarter book selections are Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour and Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Michael Thompson. Order your books now, and happy reading! 

Posted by nmelhado on Tuesday May, 19 at 08:59PM

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