Who Wants Me?
How would children and teens you know answer this key question representing our need for belonging? How would you like them to be able to answer it? How do you answer it?
Children/Teens who have healthy friendships with peers and adults are certainly better off than those who don’t. Relationships within the family are especially important. Therefore, we talk about how to communicate with and live well with family members. Instruction also includes information about friendship skills (i.e., self-evaluation, initiating and responding to interactions, choosing friends, maintaining relationships, appropriately ending relationships when necessary, and resolving conflicts), friendship levels (i.e., acquaintance, attraction, casual, close, intimate, and mature), and responsibilities of group membership (e.g., listening not dominating, compromising when appropriate, teachability). Cautions include equating being alone with loneliness, conditional love (as compared to unconditional love), and succumbing to peer pressure and doing what you don’t want to do just to belong.
Kids without healthy belonging usually appear to be lonely and have few friends. They tend to isolate themselves from others, avoid group activities, share infrequently, get in trouble through others, tease others, act silly, show off, and boast or brag excessively.