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Teaching kids about healthy friendships and boundaries

Written by Christina Furnival, MA, LPCC

Children playing outside together.

Free worksheets to begin the conversation

Connection is one of our fundamental human needs. We can see this in our children from birth as they crave our warmth, touch, and love. As they grow, their engagement in relationships evolves as well: from parallel play with their toddler peers to collaborative imaginative play with their elementary-age friends. Witnessing our children make friends and feel confident in their relationships is one of those parenting experiences that makes our hearts swell.

But sometimes we recognize that our children are in prickly friendships where their friend does not always treat them as we would hope, and our children begin to feel unsure and doubt themselves.

Kids are now mostly back to school in person after two years of virtual and hybrid learning. The usual challenges of navigating friendship ups and downs will be even harder. This has left many parents wondering how we can support our children and protect them from negative interactions and unbalanced friendships.

One way is to teach our children the important skill of boundary setting. Research relates the ability to set and hold boundaries with better self-love, self-care, self-worth, and assertiveness.

Help kids handle tough issues with confidence with these complementary age-specific worksheets on healthy friendships and boundaries. Ideal for back-to-school prep, these worksheets make it easy to begin the conversation, especially because they offer the language to describe and define friendships and boundary setting. Pair these worksheets with a bonus coloring sheet, and kids are sure to have fun while learning how to set healthy boundaries with their peers.

Click here to download these three resources, plus seven additional coloring sheets.

Get the back-to-school book your child needs

As a parent, you’re bound to wonder: How can I help my child deal with a bully? What do I teach them about handling an on-again, off-again, not-so-friendly friend? My advice to “Just be kind” isn’t helping, and my child is still hurting.

Christina Furnival, a licensed mental health therapist and mom, helps answer these questions through a charming and engaging story about a young child who successfully navigates a complex peer relationship.

The Not-So-Friendly Friend

In “The Not-So-Friendly Friend,” children learn an easy and practical lesson about how to firmly and assertively—yet kindly—stand up for themselves in the face of a bully. By teaching children about the importance and value of setting boundaries for healthy friendships, this book provides children with the tools they need to foster their social confidence and emotional well-being.

Christina Furnival, MA, LPCC, is a wife, mother of two, writer, author, and licensed mental health therapist. With over a decade of experience in the field, she is passionate about helping parents and children grow their skill sets, overcome challenges, and gain confidence to live happy, fulfilling lives. Her meaningful stories in the “Capable Kiddos” series serve as entertaining and enlightening resources to empower children and help them feel capable of managing tough situations and their accompanying emotions.

Learn more about Christina Furnival’s educational products, including upcoming live seminars.

About the publisher

For more than 40 years, nonprofit organization PESI, Inc., has provided cutting-edge continuing education to professionals across the nation. Working alongside the world’s leading experts, PESI educates and instructs the general public, public organizations, private industry, students, and professionals in acquiring, developing, and enhancing their knowledge and skills.

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