Friends Important to Bullying Prevention

Wednesday September 26, 2012

By Sherri M. Gordon

Recently, my tween daughter had a sleepover. Aside from all the laughing, giggling, snacking and crafting the girls did, they also spent some time talking and playing games. One game in particular caught my attention - Imaginiff.

With this game, the girls would read a card that said something like: "Imagine if Lori were a cliché. Which would she be? 1. Quiet as a mouse. 2. Busy as a bee. 3. Bull in a china shop. 4. No guts, no glory. 5. Silence is golden. 6. Fun in the sun." Then all the girls would vote on why they felt Lori was "fun in the sun" for example.

I was amazed at how accurate my daughter's friends were in describing her - or picking something that might represent her. It was sweet really. And, it reminded me of an article I read earlier about friends and their ability to predict whether or not a child would be successful.

In fact, researchers at Concordia University discovered that a child's friends are the best judges of what another person will be like when they grow up. And what's more, their predictions are generally more accurate than the predictions people make about themselves.

The study, which began in 1976, asked students in first, fourth and seventh grades to evaluate their classmates. They were also asked to evaluate themselves. Then, when the students became adults, the researchers were able to compare the perceptions with adult personality characteristics. Aggressiveness and likability were among the characteristics that they evaluated.

Researchers believe studies like this might be used to help kids and parents identify risk factors like aggressiveness. Once those risk factors are identified, they hope to help kids change their tendencies and have a more positive outcome in adulthood.

But what I found really interesting about the study is that it emphasized the important role that friends play in another person's life. Aside from really knowing another person, having a few healthy friendships can be beneficial. This is especially true when it comes to bullying. In fact, having solid friendships can prevent your child from being bullied.

As a parent, it's our responsibility to guide them in making good choices when it comes to friends. If you are concerned about your child's friendships, check out the following articles: Prevent Bullying by Helping Kids Develop Healthy Friendships and Is Your Child's Friend a Bully? These articles will give you ideas on how to help your kids make friends and how to help them spot bullies or frenemies in their lives.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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