32. Teaching Kids How to Be (Or Not Be) Someone’s Friend
Episode 3225th October 2023 • Counselor Chat Podcast • Carol Miller, School Counselor
00:00:00 00:11:18

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In this episode of Counselor Chat, we'll be delving into the importance of teaching friendship skills as a crucial component of our anti-bullying education efforts. We'll explore how fostering these skills can help students develop empathy, improve communication, practice kindness, learn cooperation, hone their problem-solving abilities, understand the art of forgiveness, grasp personal boundaries, and discover effective conflict resolution.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to reach out to me via email at Carol@counselingessentials.org. Your input is highly appreciated, and it helps shape the direction of our podcast.

Don't forget to follow or subscribe to the podcast on your preferred platform and connect with me on social media at counseling essentials. I'm looking forward to our next episode and can't wait to share more valuable insights. Thanks for tuning in!

Bullying lessons mentioned can be found here:

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Carol: You're listening to the Counselor Chat podcast, a show for school counselors looking for easy to implement strategies, how to tips, collaboration, and a little spark of joy. I'm Carol Miller, your host. I'm a full time school counselor and the face behind counseling essentials. I'm all about creating simplified systems, data driven practices, and using creative approaches to age students. If you're looking for a little inspiration to help you make a big impact on student growth and success, you're in the right place, because we're better together. Ready to chat? Let's dive in.

Carol: Hi, everyone. It's Carol. Thanks for joining me for another episode of Counselor Chat. I'm so excited that you're here and you're joining me each week. It just really means the world to me that you are here, you're listening, and that these episodes have been helpful. So if you don't mind, I would really love if you would rate or review this podcast, because your reviews actually help other counselors find this, and because I know I've had emails and people DMing me and all that stuff, that this has been helpful. I really hope you help others find this little program. Anyway, we have some stuff to talk about this week. That's all I could say. We have some stuff to talk about. It is at the time of this recording, it's actually the end of September, but this episode will be airing in October. And as I'm putting this together, my program has really been focusing around. We just got done with some identity lessons. We are doing this big group project in my school about belonging and fitting in with a cute little story called Where Oliver Fits about a little puzzle piece. But we're really getting ready to start going into classes and talking about bullying. Now, I know a lot of counselors really hate the term bullying. I mean, I don't really like it either, but it is a fact of life. Sometimes we feel bullied, sometimes we are getting bullied. Our kids come to us all the time and they're talking about how they are being bullied. But if we really think about it, that all comes from friendship skills. So the other thing that I like to incorporate is talking about friendship. Now, there are a lot of ways to talk about friendship. I mean, you don't have to just talk about it with bullying. I mean, friendship can take lessons on its own, trust me. And there are lots of different ways I've gone with little kids and done friendship stations where I'll spread around the room all these different ways to think about friendship. What maybe a friendship sort between good friendship traits and bad friends or unhealthy friendship traits. We might be talking about how friendship makes us feel, all different kinds of things. And with the wee little loves, maybe there's some really great stories that I would go in and read about good friendships. Enemy Pie is a favorite and what it takes. You have to really put some time and effort into getting to know someone, to be a good friend. But there's a lot of other things about friendship as well. And if we really think about it, friendship skills really help our kids learn so much beyond being a good friend. Kids learn how to communicate with one another. They learn how to express themselves clearly and to listen to others and how to communicate their needs, their wants and their feelings. But friendship, when we talk about friendship, when we teach friendship skills, we're also really developing empathy because we want our kids to understand and care about the feelings of others. We encourage kids to be kind towards one another and how treating others with respect and dignity is important. We teach them to cooperate with one another, to learn to work towards a common goal, understand the value of teamwork and collaboration. Because in class, we have to work together, we have to collaborate, we have to be a team. Friendship skills teach problem solving skills as well so that they can build those relationships with their peers in a really respectful way. It also teaches kids forgiveness because when kids learn how to forgive their friends when they make mistakes or they hurt their feelings, it's really a valuable and important skill to have friendships that really stand the test of time. But it also helps our kids learn boundaries because some of our kids, they don't understand personal boundaries. They don't know what their personal boundaries are, and they might overstep into others. So teaching friendship skills also helps kids understand that everyone has their own boundary and as well as how to resolve conflicts in a really positive and respectful way. I know I teach a lot of imessages when I'm talking about friendship, but let's go back to these bullying lessons because it's really important for me to teach my kids how to recognize bullying, to know what to do when they see it, and to understand that bullying, that bullying is when someone isn't being safe and respectful. That when bullying is when someone keeps being mean to someone else on purpose. And it's when someone hurts our body or belongings, it's when someone hurts our feelings and it's when maybe someone gets other people to mean to someone else. It can happen in person and online. So we talk about all these things, what bullying is and how we don't really allow it at our school. But then I'm going to teach them how to recognize, not only recognize bullying, but to report it and to refuse it as well. Because let's face it, we want our kids to be upstanders. And not just bystanders when they see bullying happening. We want them to be able to say, hey, stop. Or I got to go get help and let somebody know what's going on. So we're going to teach them how to be an upstander. But this year I thought it was also really important to teach kids what they can do if they don't like someone. Now, I think this first went viral through a TikTok video. I don't have TikTok on my phone, I don't watch it, I don't listen to it. So I'm not 100% certain. But I do remember from the Facebook groups that this was a pretty big topic not too long ago, all these lessons about how not to like someone. And I thought, wow, this is really brilliant. If we're going to incorporate friendship into our bullying lessons, then maybe not only do we have to tell them how to be a good friend or what a good friend looks like, but what we can do if we just don't like someone. Because let's face it, there are plenty of things that we can do if we don't like someone. And as we're talking about bullying and we're talking about that bullying is when we're not being safe and we are not being respectful, well, we can still not like someone and still be safe and respectful. And so that's pretty important, I think, to add into our lessons. So this year, as I'm going into the classes and I'm talking to them about reporting and recognizing and responding, we are also going to say, what can we do if you don't like someone? And so here's what I came up with. Don't exclude them. You can't exclude someone just because you don't like them. You have to work together. You're all on the same team. And our team happens to be Ridge Mills. That's our school, that's our team. So we're all working together. You also can't get other people not to like someone. If you don't like them, that's fine. But everyone has the right to have friends. Everyone has the right to be respected. Everyone has the right to feel like they matter. So you don't need to drag other people into your disliking of someone else. You also don't have to put others down to make yourself feel better. Because if you can't feel good on your own, picking on someone else isn't going to make you feel better. In fact, it might actually make you feel worse because you probably will get in trouble. So don't put others down to make yourself feel better. But what you can do is you can be kind to everyone. And if you don't like someone, don't tell everyone. It's no one else's business. It's not for public information. This is a private thing between you and that person. And really, they shouldn't know either. If you don't like them, you don't like them. Just go about your own business. So as we teach our classes this year, these are the things I'm going to incorporate into my lessons. I'd really love my friends. If you could share with me, send me an email or a DM or something, what you guys are doing in your lessons to talk about friendships, how to be friends and how not to be friends, because I think it's pretty important. And I'd also love to know, do you incorporate friendship into your bullying lessons or do you do something a little different? So send me an email. I'd love to hear you. It's Carol@counselingessentials.org, and if you're looking for some bullying lessons, I hope to have these ready on TPT. I will put the links in the Show Notes. I definitely will have them in the Perks Counseling Content club. So if you are a member, you can be looking for those lessons there. And if you're not a member, I'd love to invite you to try it free for seven days and check out the hundreds of lessons that we have inside there and we put more like these bullying lessons, friendship lessons in there all the time. Anyway, friends, I hope that this was helpful to you. I hope it gave you a couple of things to think about as you are talking about friendships and doing friendship lessons with your kids, what you could talk to them about. And I think the one thing to add is no matter what age group that you work with, these skills, these friendship skills, or these how not to Be a Friend skills are good for no matter what age you work with, whether they're the wee little loves or the big high school kids and everyone in between. So I hope it was helpful. And once again, I'd love to hear what you guys do. Carol@counselingessentials.org, send me a little email, but until next week, I hope you have a great week. Bye for now.

Carol: Thanks for listening to today's episode of Counselor Chat. All of the links I talked about can be found in the Show Notes and@counselingsentials.org Podcasts. Be sure to hit, follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast player. And if you would be so kind.

Carol: To leave a review, I'd really appreciate it. Want to connect?

Carol: Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram at counseling essentials. Until next time. Can't wait till we chat. Bye for now.




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