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How children learn about relationships

How your children learn about relationships

Your child needs experiences with other children in order to put into practice what she has learned from you about getting along with others. She learns how to act with others from family members. But she needs to try out these ideas with other children in order to gain competence and self-confidence.

READ MORE: Friendship and development

With other children, she can work out different ways of acting and reacting that she probably wouldn't risk trying with you or other adults. She can get practice being the boss as well as being bossed by another. She can be a leader as well as a follower, a teacher as well as a learner, a caregiver as well as the one receiving care.

With you and other adults in her life, she is limited to certain behaviors that are appropriate because she is a child. With other children, her options are more open.

Further, just as you need time away from a child-centered life, she needs to get away from the adult-oriented world. She needs to be with other people whose view of the world and orientation toward life are similar to her own. Through her relationships with them, she can learn to cooperate, compromise, and strike bargains.

She needs to be able to work out satisfying relationships with other children in her own way, at her own pace, in terms of her own needs. This is why "free play" time or recess can be the most important part of a child's day.

Try to work out an arrangement with other parents to get your children together on a regular basis, to play or go on outings. Give your child the opportunities, support, and encouragement she needs to work out satisfying relationships with other people.

Courtesy Growing Child.