There is a new article circulating about how to make your kids popular. At first when I saw the title, I assumed the popularity tactics included the stereotypical mean girl, prettiest person, best athlete, and wearing the most stylish clothes. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the article and realized that it was about how to be your best self, so you can attract people to you genuinely: how to make and keep friends. This is a skill that the younger generation doesn’t have, so we need to teach them how to do that.
Teach your kids how to share.
This is not necessarily just to share your toys or your snacks. Teach your kids how to share compliments. Share yourself by being open. Be an instigator, not for trouble, but for friendship. Teach your kids to approach others and invite them to each lunch, or to play at recess. For someone who is struggling, it can make a world of difference for them to have a child come up and be friendly. If you have a kid that is naturally more outgoing this can be fun, for a shy kid this can be challenging, but it is such an important skill.
First all, kids will mirror our behavior. So if as adults we are gossiping, they will learn how to gossip, and that it’s okay, so it has to stop with ourselves. Second, teach your kids how to cut it off. If someone is gossiping about Debbie, “Oh my gosh, can you believe what she did? I can’t believe that!” How do you stop that? Cut it off with a compliment. If you come back and say, “I really love how genuine Debbie is,” it’s going to be impossible for others continue gossiping without seeming like a fool.
Look for someone who needs you.
Root for the underdog. Teach your kids to be on the lookout for someone who needs a friend. Sometimes we don’t even realize who needs a friend. One thing I teach the kids I work with, and my own kids is to learn the names of the kids who sit by them at school. You don’t have to be BFFs, but learning to acknowledge them can really brighten the day for someone who is struggling. If everyone would take just a few moments to be kind, and to look out for others, it could almost eliminate the overly negative/bullying atmosphere in our schools. Let’s help teach them to be an advocate for good.