4 Ways to Help Your Kids Make Good Friends

Encouraging Healthy Relationships With Their Peers

By Suzanne Gosselin
  • August 10, 2015

Pal. Buddy. BFF. Whatever word you use, chances are, having a friend is very important to your child. Up until about age 6, friendships between children are momentary and primarily based on shared activities, but as they mature into their preteen years, children gravitate toward specific friends, especially peers who do nice things for them. They also begin to confide in peers, help each other solve problems, and show genuine care and concern for one another. 

Friends play an important role in your child’s social, emotional, and spiritual development. And 1 Corinthians 15:33 is clear about the consequences of bad friends: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” It’s sobering to think about, but your child’s success in life can hinge on who her friends are.

So how can parents help their children make good friends? Here are four ways to start:

  1. Pray for good friends for your child. Many Christian parents pray for a their child’s future spouse—but before a husband or wife enters the picture, dozens of other friends and relationships will shape your child. Pray that God will provide godly friends for your child to encourage her in her faith.

  2. Build character that chooses good friends. As you help your child grow to value faithfulness, goodness, peace, and other fruit of the Spirit in their own lives, they will naturally be attracted to others with these qualities. 

  3. Teach them not to settle. In middle school, my best friend was a neighbor girl who constantly ditched me for better offers and verbally tore me down for not being cool enough. Every day my mom counseled me, through my tears, reminding me that this “friend” didn’t recognize my value and that she was not a true friend. Eventually, I found other friends and had less and less time for this toxic relationship. 

  4. Do a friendship study. If your child is having friend problems, such as dealing with a bad friend or not having any friends, look up these verses from Proverbs together and talk about what makes a good friend. After reading the passages, talk about qualities you’ve each appreciated in friends you’ve had in the past.

  • Proverbs 17:17

  • Proverbs 13:20

  • Proverbs 18:24

  • Proverbs 27:17

Helping your child think through the purpose and importance of friends in his life can help him make better friends. Remind him that the first step to making the right kind of friend is being the right kind of friend. When he is kind, friendly and take an interest in what others have to say, people will be more likely to want to strike up a friendship. And, of course, his best friend Jesus promises to always be with him—“a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).

Dr. Stanley shares the importance of choosing good friends in his message, “Building Wise Relationships,” available for purchase in our online store.

Related Topics:  Prayer  |  Family  |  Community

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What happens to my notes

33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals."

24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

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