Best Friends, Worst Enemies

  • Head's Note
Tobin Bechtel

As parents, we worry about our children being not only being successful but also being accepted. And often attempting to understand, support and guide our own children’s social lives is highly coloured by our own childhood experiences. To explore this area of perennial parent consternation more fully, I will be hosting two parent education sessions (26 Jan at 6:00 pm and 27 Jan at 9:00am) unpacking Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, by Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. Please RSVP to receive the Zoom links.

As Dr. Thompson notes in his introduction, “Friends broaden our children’s horizons, share their joys and secrets, and accompany them on their journeys into ever wider worlds. But friends can also gossip and betray, tease and exclude. Children can cause untold suffering, not only for their peers but for parents as well.” For children, the relationship with friends is one of the most important things in their lives, a source of learning and growth. However, all children also discover social power and experiment with teasing and exclusion. Running through the book are many lessons from psychology and broader experience including learning to listen, being careful about trying to fix a problem for our children, and how we can work together to create and maintain cultures of caring in a smaller school. Whether you are able to read the entire book or a synopsis, I highly encourage parents and grandparents to attend a session as this is a topic that impacts every child’s life and we can help them navigate the stormy seas of friendship. 

I am also delighted to announce that Dr. Thompson will be hosting a session specifically for our grandparents in the Sage Ridge Community on connecting with grandchildren during the pressures of a pandemic. This is one way we are hoping to have an event more focused for our grandparents since we were not able to host our annual grandparents day this year. I am looking forward to having Dr. Thompson join us on 4 February at 5:30 pm via Zoom -- even though I am not yet fortunate enough to have grandchildren. I encourage parents to attend as well as Dr. Thompson’s insights, anecdotes and advice are always heartening and useful. Every time I have had the opportunity to see him speak he gives me something new to ponder and ideas to put into action in working with children -- as a parent and an educator! Please put these dates on your calendar and join us.

  • head's note
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