Now that my 3-year-old, Hudson, has his own little circle of friends (socialization in full-swing!) I started thinking about different ways to teach him about the importance of building and maintaining friendships. I feel it's important he understands how to empathize with other children while appreciating the friends he has. If you're thinking this may be too big of a concept for him to grasp at his little age, I'm with you!
When I was a little girl my father used to warn me, "Un amigo es un peso en el bolsillo." This translates to, "A friend is a dollar in your pocket." I thought this meant being able to have enough money to make ends meet is more valuable than having friends. Ouch! I remember wondering why he was hating on my amigas. My father really didn't believe much in having friends, and as a young girl I just saw it as his way to keep me from going out and doing fun things.
Now that I'm a mama, I get why my father felt that way. In our culture, familia is everything, and we believe family members are the only people you can really trust. It's also in my Latino nature to overprotect and control as much as I can to deter my kids from getting hurt. Unfortunately, some friendships can result in hurt feelings, and I get why my dad felt the way he did—but I don't agree with shunning the whole idea of friendship.
This may be premature of me, but I do want to find my own strategy, and telling my niños that friends are off limits will obviously not be my approach. While I do recognize that some of the children my kids will cross paths with may be dishonest, there will be plenty of others that will become just like family. I am fortunate to have a few of those people in my life, who are now mamas as well, so I want to encourage my boys to nurture the friendships that bring meaning to their lives.
Do you have any tips for nurturing tiny friendships?!
Check out how our Latina Mommy, Yesenia Almonte, deals with enabling her son!