Seeking Out Godly Friends For Your Children

People ask me how important friendships are for children.

My answer may not be what you would expect from me…homeschool mom who will fight tooth and nail against the concept that homeschool children need a good dose of socialization…

But, my answer as to how important friendships outside your family are would have to be

VERY.

As in, SO VERY, you need to be VERY proactive about helping your children find godly friendships.  And when you find those godly friendships, you better help foster them.

Granted, you will hear me say {quite often} how important the sibling relationship is.  In fact, I believe that relationship to be indicative of the true health of the family unit.  However, no one is an island.

Not even me…mom of many, homebody.  And definitely not my children.

We need the fellowship of other believers to refine us and spur us on.

And so do our children.

There will come a time when you cannot be everything to your child {yes, even you, homeschool mom} and they will grow and learn from someone else.  And you can guarantee at least one of those someone elses will be from the friends they have made along the way.

Now do you see why I say these friendships are VERY important?

No, I don’t think you should be flitting in and out of every social club there is for children trying to find friends for your kids.  And I don’t think it is a good idea to throw your child in with a bunch of fools peers, and hope they find someone worthwhile to talk to.

In fact, finding godly friendships for your children often begins with finding godly friendships for yourself. It stands to reason that if a parent is a committed and focused Christian, they will be raising their children in the same manner.


So, what do we look for in friendships and which friendships do we try to help foster and maintain despite geographical separations?

Here are a few things we consider:

Is the friend a Christian or at least being discipled in that path?

Does the friend encourage your child to do hard things rather than try to find the easy way out?

Does the friend indulge in addictive behaviors that foster a life of entertainment and ease?

Does the friend settle for mediocrity?

Is the friend servant minded?

Does he/she have a good relationship with siblings?

Does he/she have a good relationship with parents?

Does the friend respect other authorities in his/her life?

Does the friend display the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23)

These are the kinds of friends you want your children playing with.   Truth be told, these are the kind of friends we need!

So, does that mean you break ties with those who don’t meet your criteria?  No…unless those friends are “high places.”  For the most part I don’t recommend breaking fellowship with other believers over their children, but I do recommend limiting their time spent together and keeping your guard up and your rules in place (ie. no playing off alone, requiring a sibling buddy to accompany, etc – these are good rules to have in place no matter the situation).

Now, I want to hear from you…
Have you given much thought to your children’s friends?

Do you have rules for friends?

Any other thoughts concerning seeking out godly friendships?

 

Subscribe to Raising Arrows

41 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

41 thoughts on “Seeking Out Godly Friends For Your Children

  1. Sadly, we don’t know any local Christian families who raise their children in a godly way – most every child I know is a brat and the kind of influence my children DON’T need. Because of that, my children have very limited time playing with other children – something we really need to work on. Where to find Bible-believing Christian families with young children though?? :(

    • You said you don’t know any Christian families who are raising their kids right, do you know Christian families with children? Perhaps you could invite one of these children to your home, where you could supervise and perhaps influence the other child, thereby “growing” a friend for your child.

    • Us too Clara. We live in a neighborhood with a handful of boys my son’s age. They are bad influences on him. I wish it were the other way around-him being a good influence on them. One friend, just two doors down, does go to church with his mom but I don’t think the dad goes with him. This child has the worst mouth on him (but always polite to me). We’ve heard him and seen him in action. We also limit the time our son spends with him and the other boys. It’s very very concerning for me. :(

      • Ugh, I’m sorry to hear you’re in the same situation, Lauree. It’s a tough one because while peers aren’t the be-all-and-end-all, it is good for kids to have friends their own age, as Amy wrote here. I guess it’s something we just need to keep praying about!

    • First off, reference my comment to abba12. Doing the things I mentioned there is how we have met many friends and like I told her, none of our good friends are here…yet. You might have to look beyond and get creative. I have a friend who’s daughter is being courted by a young man she met via a Constitutional class she took online with HSLDA. They formed a friendship with his entire family after that class and it has led to this. :)

      • Funny you should mention that (meeting someone online and ending up courting) – that is how my husband and I met (online) – him in USA and me here in Australia… :) God can provide miracles! We’ll keep praying for Godly friendships for our children and see what He does.
        Thank you for the encouragement, Amy. :)

  2. Amy! I love your perspective, as it is so much the same as ours has been. It can be hard to find like minded families, but it is worth the effort to do so. It needs to be a matter of continual prayer, and one that we feel so keenly now that our oldest is 12. Thanks again for the encouragement!

  3. I’m in the same boat at Clara, the only children I actually like at our church are the pastors children! And as pastor, it’s hard for him to form a personal friendship with our family, though hopefully in time that can come.

    I can’t even find a Godly friend for myself let alone a playmate for my poor daughter. We have one close male friend and a number of other male friends, but as my husband and I are only 20 and 23, most everyone our age is still single, and people older than us still seem to look down on us as ‘young people’.

    I’m hoping that as we get older, our elders will accept us and our friends might eventually find themselves some wives lol!

    • Honestly, I have no friends here…yet. All of our friends are people we must travel to or they must travel to us. But, my oldest daughter is part of an email loop she formed with some girls she met at a camp for large families and we let our children call, write and email children from our travels with whom we’ve formed relationships with their families. So, I do understand what it is like to have no one in your area. Have you thought about looking for any retreats and things like that that emphasize the Christian family and perhaps forming friendships that way?

  4. Hey Amy, Did you intend to add in the link to your high places post here: “No…unless those friends are “high places.” LINK!” You can delete this comment after you fix it if you want.

  5. I’m constantly aware of this, but it’s not as easy as I imagined it would be when I was in the blissful glow of my first pregnancy. I feel like God has whispered “diligence” to me over and over when we make play dates … it really isn’t as simple as I had thought it would be. Thanks for this encouraging post!

  6. Isn’t it sad that in our own churches there doesn’t seem to be many children that we want our children to be friends with? In my church it’s just a lack of children. How sad to have a church with so little young people. I wish it wasn’t the case. : (

  7. I have been thinking on this same thing. It’s a little early as our baby is only 5 months old :) I am praying early though, I had so many Godly friends growing up it breaks my heart that my daughter may not have the same opportunity as I did. Never hurts to ask God to fix the situation :)

  8. I was just recently telling my oldest daughter about my closest friends: they will call and ask me to forgive them when they have acted unbiblically (gossiping, crude jesting, being unkind, etc) and they will also call me and lovingly tell me when my behavior is unbiblical.
    I am very blessed to have several of these friendships and I was explaining to my daughter that this is what godly friendships should look like.

  9. Thanks so much for this! I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one concerned about this :)
    I have at least a couple different friends that I limit my time with because it means that our children play together. We became friends before we had children and I still enjoy visiting with both of them, but they does not raise her children like I’ve chosen to raise mine. Therefore, while both families’ children are raised “in church” they don’t share the same strong values that I’m working (by God’s grace only!) to instill in my children.
    I can always tell after we have had time with them, my children will have picked up some different “saying” or attitude that I have to work to correct.
    Another issue at our house is family. My husband’s family members are not believers… When our children go to spend time with their grandparents, they play with their cousins. While we want to foster those family relationships, we also don’t want their negative attitudes, crude language, etc being picked up by our children. This is an even harder situation than avoiding the wrong friends!
    Either way, I think choosing Godly friends is another way to maintain our children’s innocence as long as possible.

    • It is a difficult balance between being salt and light as a Christian family and guarding and protecting at the same time. We have a lot of discussions in our home on this topic!

  10. This is something my husband and I have been giving a lot of thought too! Our little one is only 18 months old, but as you know kids loving playing with other kids! Something mommy can’t fulfill! We are very protective of her, and watch very closely who she plays with. Most of our friends are not Christians unfortunately, but they are trying to change. It’s a long road! I’ll keep reading on here for more advice! Because the biggest problem we have right now isn’t the children, but the adults who can’t keep a bridle tongue!

  11. I have to agree with some of the other comments. As a person who doesn’t make friends easily, It’s so hard to find friends for myself who are believers, and therefore also hard to find friends for my children. They do play with another family’s children sometimes but i greatly limit that because of the influence they have on them. This is something I continually pray about.

    • Do continue to pray. You might need to reach beyond where you live. We have many friends whom we met at family camps and things like that. :)

  12. The hardest part for me is to do all the work it takes to create the time for them to be together. Both my girls have one good friend but it is very hard for me to set up the play dates that are required for maintaining the friendships.

  13. Our LO just turned a year old last week but I have been contemplating this question almost since I go the two blue lines.
    I have several Christian friends however most of them either have older children (we started a bit late) or have adult children. This makes is difficult and there are few children my son’s age at our church too.
    I want him to have as many positive influences in his life as he can, other children who are Spirit-filled, positive influences.
    On the other hand, I know that he too can be a positive influence on children who may not have a strong Christian upbringing so there’s a fine line between sheltering and being proactive.

  14. I remember as a home schooled child how we had some individual friends of our own age and gender, but we spent most of our time with other like minded families. Moms got to fellowship and kids got opportunities to practice interacting with other children of all ages and genders (as well and talking to adults). I think that this helped our socialization more so than if we were in public school with only people of our own age.

    That said, while I do think that quality friends are great, I do think that there are times when only He can be our true friend. We may choose to spend time with others, and have our kids do as well, but if there truly isn’t other like minded people around us perhaps He is calling us to closer fellowship with Him. And perhaps to grow closer as a family as well.

  15. This is an area that I have struggled with off and on. My children will befriend (or be friended) with others that appear to be like-minded, as in Christians, homeschooled, similar upbringings, etc., and then, after you peel the first layer off, they are worldy-minded and carnal and NOT what we thought. Only this summer has 1 of my children become friends with a child at church who goes to a private Christian school and seems to have very, very similar thoughts as we do. I have had to ban certain “Christian” friends from our home and not allow my kids to do things with them as well. This post also spoke to me because I have been praying for a good friend for several months. I would love someone to just talk to, go get an occasional coffee with or someone I know I can depend on. I have my husband and kids and a great relationship with my mom but no close friends at all. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or what, I don’t think it particularly bothered me until the last year or so but I would like to have a good friend too. “Iron sharpeneth iron” and I need that sometimes. We were doing things with my husband’s brother and his wife but they are very negative and pessimistic people who spend money at a rate that we cannot keep up with…even if we were inclined. My point being, sometimes you can’t even be friends with family members, it’s just enough to be family with them..if you get me.;0) Thanks for some good thoughts. The subject of friends is definitely something to put on the prayer list, for our children and that God would bless us with good and reliable friends too.

    • To be honest, NONE of my friends live here. We have to travel to see each other and much of our fellowship is done on these visits or via the internet and phone. It’s hard not to have anyone here to run and get a coffee with, but I am praying for that since God has been faithful in other places we’ve lived. Keep praying!

  16. Great post! Friends are important – for all ages, and at the same time, “evil company corrupts good habits”. There will be no perfect children since we, all, are sinners. Nonetheless, I do try to watch whom my children befriend. I watch the other child’s character and also how they interact with/affect my child. Sometimes I have to limit time with certain friends or encourage other friendships. It is definitely not easy and is something to keep in prayer and to ask God for wisdom and discernment.

  17. Some thoughts on making friends, … do you have a hobby? Join a club. There are Christians everywhere, there are probably some who share your same interests. Get involved in your children’s activities, get to know the other parents. Entertain at home. This is becoming more and more common again. Host a potluck/cookout and set up horse shoes or volleyball. Invite several people (it’s less intimate – this way it’s less offensive if you don’t invite someone back) This is a great way to get to know lots of people. The old saying is, if you want a friend, be a friend, so start being a friend today.

    • Well put Norma. I was also thinking of the list of qualities Amy listed, and how well do I (and my children) fill those ideals. Want a friend *with those qualities,* be a friend *with those qualities.*
      We live in an area where there are several similarly minded families, but finding time with them is still hard. We don’t often have schedules that line up well with other families.
      There are friends that we have to limit time with, but I have also found (as we discuss things together) that my children have picked up on things about these individuals that make us limit that time, so it has made for learning discernment.
      Thanks for another encouraging and thought provoking post Amy :)
      Blessings!
      ~Monica
      Oh! PS Amy, what are these family camps?

  18. This is near and dear to my heart, as are MANY of your topics! :-) We belonged to a church, for 3 1/2 years, where most of my children remained friendless. They had casual acquaintances, but nobody they could truly be themselves around. Two years ago we joined a small group of believers in a family integrated church…and God gifted my 3 middle children with some of the closest and dearest friends they have ever known! Everyone in our church home schools, so the kids all have that in common. But far above that, they have the Lord. There are no “brats” in the group. All of the families believe in, and practice, Biblical discipline. My middle children are 17, 15, and 13…and their friends are truly delightful. There is no gossiping, or chit-chat about boys/girls and who is cute or not cute…I love it! We often have fellowship at our home, where between 5 and 20 young men and women attend, and it is delightful! They play board games, bring their guitars and make use of my 2 pianos…writing Christ honoring songs, talk about Beverly Lewis (Amish) books, etc. My two girls and 2 girls from another family in our church are writing a book together…in which each of them have a character name-and they write letters back and forth. I have never witnessed bitterness between any of the children/young adults. And yet…there in no one for me. I am not friendless, but have no deep connections, like my children do. My life is so different than others, and I do not fit in anywhere. I am 47 years old, but have 2 special needs toddlers. So, I don’t fit in with the other moms my age who have mostly young adults, and do not fit in with the younger moms with kiddos the same age as my littles…as my littles are not able to do play dates. I do get lonely from time to time. But know this is just a season of my life, and that God will provide during this season. I have so little left to give, of my time and energy, that perhaps I would be of little use to a “friend”. I enjoy my marriage, my children, and connect with people via facebook. And praise God for bringing joy filled friendships to my children!

  19. Great article! Thanks for sharing this. It really gives me a good standard to keep in mind as my son is getting older and is more interested on making friends.

  20. We have just recently begun actively looking for friends for our two (age 10 & 12) They have been lucky in that they have cousins close in age in our town that are also homeschooled – but, my son especially needs a new friend – someone who is more like him so thank you very much for this very timely advice :)

  21. I needed to read this today. We are fortunate to be in a wonderful, Christian co-op of 98 families. We are having problems, however, with a lifelong friend of my daughter’s who lives next door to us. As the girls age, this friend is just being nasty, exclusive and outright mean. I am trying to teach my daughter to forgive, but then to also guard her heart and not set herself up for hurt again. This is so hard to do as a parent. My children love to play outside and unfortunately this little girl lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR. It cannot be avoided, so we have to find a way to deal with the situation.

  22. Excellent article!
    This article just confirms that there is nothing new under the sun!
    We are an Africa American Family in Baltimore and we are having the same concerns regarding Godly friends for our children. We have been homeschooling for almost five years now and our eldest daughter is having a difficult time with desiring friendship. Indeed, we want her to have Godly friends but it is hard to find in the days and times in which we live. I will stop for now, however I would like to ask that you pray for us that this will work out for our good.
    BTW…………we are looking for Pen pals for our 8,10 and 15 year old daughters.