Katie Holland November 9, 2011 Psychology The Importance of Friendships Katie Holland Psychology Importance of Friendships Picture this, a young boy sitting alone at a playground admiring his peers from across the school yard enjoying a game of hide and seek, that he was not invited to. Now shift your attention to the other set of children who are engaging in a rigorous game of hide and seek, all laughing and playing with one another. Which side would you want to be on? How do you get to that side? And how do you avoid being placed on the wrong end? Is it something you’re born with?
Or is it easily controlled? Ten years from now where will those groups of smiling young children be in comparison to the lonely boy on the side of the courtyard? Friendships are important. They are a staple in young children’s lives. Children spend an average of 682. 5 days of their life in school, if a child goes for 13 years, 7 hours a day, and 180 days a year. That is a large quantity of their life without their parents. Which leaves space for much needed guidance from others. Who better than children who are also going through the same things as them, hence their peers.
It is said that, “peers are arguably one of the most important socializers over the life course” (Waldrip). Children rely on one another for support whether or not they know they are doing so. If you were to ask a 5-year-old what makes someone a good friend, they would reply with what seems to be a very simple answer, “someone who will play with me and be nice” (Corletto). Yet once you take a deeper look into his response, you will see that a friend to him requires someone to be kind, caring, compassionate, and can share their belongings and time with him.
Much like an adult looks for in their companions. Not only is it important to build friendships because of social necessities, but friends also have a major impact on the schooling of school aged children. “Children who have problems in their social functioning have been shown to do worse in school and to display more behavioral problems” (Palmen). Children who are ‘lonely’ have proven to grow up in adulthood and suffer from problems with depression, dropping out of school, medical problems, and alcoholism (Palmen). Looking on the grander scale of things it makes sense.
Children, teens, and adults who have friends seem to live happier more successful lives. The presence of a friend holds true value when lost. Friendships are different from peer acceptance in that an adolescent’s acceptance is relatively unaffected by a single individual, whereas the elimination of one member of a friendship adversely affects both individuals (Waldrip). I like to think of it as another one of life’s needs. Although you may be able to physically live without friends, unlike food or water, life is made a little simpler and a little happier with friends involved.
Instead of the saying, “all a person needs is food, water, and shelter,” I would like to add to it that everyone needs one good friend. Pre-school aged children do not discriminate against gender. Their friendships change on a day to day basis and are never gender specific. Because three-year-olds make friends quickly, their friendships are not very long lasting (Family Education). I do believe that this starts as the basis to build relationships and friendships at a later age. Children are not born to discriminate against race, gender, or religion, and you can tell that amongst their groups of friends.
Not until outside influences are put into place do you tend to see a separation in friends based on such stipulations as race, gender, and religion. A friend is one who will stand by you when the rest of the world walks away. They never look down on you, unless they are trying to help you up. Friendships are a necessity in children’s lives. They are their peers, their mentors, their guidance, their shoulders to lean on, and their partners in everyday life. Friends see the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows and they are truly there for your support.
Children who grow up in happy homes can still become socially incapable. Children who have friends, or at least one good friend, excel in most things. Partly because that is another person they have to turn to. No one wants to tell someone they have done badly in school or on something else in life. The more people a person, or child, has to answer to, the more likely they are to strive for excellence in everything that they do. Friendships are important at any and every age. Adults need friends to rely on for support with life’s struggles. Teens need friends to rely on for support in their ever-changing lives.
Children need friends to rely on support with their day-to-day activities, and someone to simply “play with” (Corletto). Whatever the role they play, friendships are a vital part of life. Much like food, water, and shelter. Citations Corletto, R. (2011, October 2). Personal Interview. “Helping Your Child Make Friends – FamilyEducation. com. ” Family Life, Child Development, Nutrition, Teen Health & School Safety – FamilyEducation. com. Pearson Education. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. <http://life. familyeducation. com/social-interaction/friendships/53535. html>. Palmen, H. , Vermande, M.
M. , Dekovic, M. , & van Aken, M. G. (2011). Competence, Problem Behavior, and the Effects of Having No Friends, Aggressive Friends, or Nonaggressive Friends. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 57(2), 186-213. “The Importance of Friends | Scholastic. com. ” Scholastic | Children’s Books and Book Club | Scholastic. com. Scholastic. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. ;lt;http://www. scholastic. com/resources/article/the-importance-of-friends;gt;. Waldrip, A. M. , Malcolm, K. T. , ;amp; Jensen-Campbell, L. A. (2008). With a Little Help from Your Friends: The Importance of High-quality Friendships