In this phase, friends start to matter a lot more. Fourth graders find themselves in friend groups, cliques, and tribes. Some friends become best friends. Other friends won’t be invited to the party. Peer approval (and disapproval) is significantly motivating in this phase. Your role as an influencer in the life of your child is no longer as exclusive as it once was. It may seem like you’re losing influence, but your fourth grader needs you now more than ever.
What a kid believes about themselves in fourth grade matters. It leaves a lasting memory – one that will form long-term belief about how they see themselves.
Fourth graders are aware of the differences between themselves and others. That’s a beautiful recognition of diversity in the Kingdom of God. The difficult side is the insecurities that come with those differences. Your child may start to wonder, “Is there something wrong with me?” Unless a fourth grader hears consistent voices reaffirming their value, they may become stuck in this struggle. Now is your moment to get on their level, look them in the eye, and consistently communicate: “There is nobody like just like you, and that’s the way it should be. You are exactly the way God made you.” In this uncertain time, your fourth grader needs someone to consistently believe the best about them, no matter what.
“Who are my friends?”
Fourth graders need to share their most authentic versions of themselves with another person. In fourth grade, your influence begins to shift as a parent; they still need you, but they begin to need other people as well.
Purchases and complete these activities with your child:
Parenting Your Fourth Grader by Kristen Ivy and Reggie Joiner
The Responsive Counselor’s Amazon book recommendations on friendship and social skills
Teaching Kids About Healthy Friendships and Friendship Boundaries
Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud
How to Help Your Kid Make Friends
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