It's back to school time and that means in equal measure tears, tantrums and triumphs. Most parents find it difficult to consign their children to full time school, it is when you begin to lose a little bit of control, now they must fend for themselves. Their teacher becomes the fountain of all knowledge and you get used to hearing Mr or Mrs so and so says...
Then there is the difficult issue of friends, for many children they make these as they progress through the infant and junior school and add to this as they continue. How do we make friends though and how do we make them in the first place, this is the conundrum I have been presented with by Heather. She is an adult relater and given the choice would much rather spend her time talking to adults than children of her own age, she is perfectly capable of getting on with children her own age but hasn't to date had what you would call a best friend - she is more of a butterfly flitting from group to group or playing by herself.
It got me thinking about my own friends and I guess you could group them, there are the people that you know well enough to say hello to, usually mums at the school gate, then there are those that are a little closer that your children spend time with so you get to know them a bit better, then there are your best friends. These are the people that you are comfortable with, share your secrets with and spend more time with. I am lucky enough to have friends like this who I have met both a long time ago from college and university and more recent ones who I have met at the school. These are the people that even when you haven't seen them for awhile you can pick up the phone and you know each other well enough to carry on as before. When Heather asked me how you make best friends I was at a loss to explain it though.
In the end I told her that the best thing you can do is be nice, listen to what they have to say and help them out wherever possible and make sure that you have some similar interests. I still don't know how she'll get on Matthew and Lucy seem to make friends naturally and easily but I did remind her that friendship is a two way street, you have to show them respect and talk to one another, share and work at it. I also told her that sometimes you'll fall out and disagree but the best friends are the ones that stay with you through the ups and downs, that forgive you when you make a mistake and give you a shoulder when you need to cry.