Making First Friends

During the preschool years, children begin to develop the social skills that are necessary to form friendships, says Nancy Hertzog, PhD, author of Ready for Preschool. Here's how to forge the first friendships your child chooses without butting in too much.

Respect Your Kid's Feelings

Even if your child's new friend isn't someone you would have picked -- maybe he lives across town or his mother isn't your favorite person -- you should still encourage the friendship. "Parents shouldn't impose their wishes for playmates on their children. Friends aren't interchangeable," says Marsha Weinraub, PhD, director of the personality and social development research laboratory at Temple University, in Philadelphia. Of course, if your child begs to play with someone you find totally inappropriate -- like a kid you know is a bully -- it's fine to discourage that.

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