Parents are often a big influence in the lives of their children. At a young age, and even as they start to get older, children depend on their parents for a number of things. For example, a baby will depend on its parents for food and milk. As a grade-schooler, a child will depend on them for guidance and help with homework. As a teen, the child will depend on parents for approval and trust.
The moment a child is able to leave his or her mother’s lap is when that mother has very little control over the influences her child will encounter. It is imperative to develop strong ties with a child at home so that a good relationship is something they will want and expect during school and throughout their lives. Strong relationships at home can often affect the relationships a child builds outside of the home.
Children in elementary school have minds and personalities that are still developing; they are still quite impressionable. A family that communicates well and engages in playtime activities with the child has a better chance of watching the child develop positive friendships in school.
Time with friends is one of the most important things a child experiences during adolescence. Being involved in their scholastic work allows the parent to be more aware of his or her settings outside of the home. As adults may cling to other adults with like mindsets and other similarities, children will do the same.
PTA meetings and volunteering for school dances are a great way to have some influence on who the child interacts with. While at home, PBS.org suggests asking the child empowering questions about their friendships, such as, “Are you being picked on by anyone?”, or “Have you made a lot of friends?” These types of questions may affect how they shape their social relationships.
A Vanderbilt University study suggests that child can learn to imitate positive actions and behaviors in school. Bottom line, what a child sees on an everyday basis is an influence on their behavior. For example, if a child sees a mother and a father sharing household chores, discussing topics in a respectable manner and even playing games together, they will likely do the same in school. If a child bears witness to violence, abusive behavior, foul language and other negative actions, they may imitate that in school.
Additionally, children brought up in a household of positive influences and behaviors are likely to want to be around children who exhibit positive vibes too. The children that come off disruptive and negative are often avoided; however, the children conditioned with positive vibes will often try to befriend the disruptive child anyway through positive demeanor and actions, until their efforts are proven fruitless.
A study conducted and published by the University of Illinois suggests that a child will become less enthused by peers acting out with anger and aggression during playtime. According to the study, even children do not want to be bothered with bad vibes. This is an interesting phenomenon because it explains how maturity is developed at a very early age.
Ultimately, the repetitive positive behaviors a child sees throughout their childhood cannot protect them against all bad behaviors from others, but it will show them early in life the differences between good and bad social circles.