Hillary Chybinski: How-To. . .Help Your Kids Navigate Friendships

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How-To. . .Help Your Kids Navigate Friendships

If you have kids. . .you know about helping them navigate friendships.  It starts from those first playdates, where you instruct them to ONLY drink from their cup, and that magic word, "share".  As your kids get older, their issues with friendships get more complicated. . .once you reach middle school and your kids are tweens and early-teens. . .issues can reach epic proportions.  And the scary part is that you may not even realize what's going on, as your kids strive for more privacy and independence.

Ryan is in 5th grade, and we are starting to see shifts in friendships. . .boys don't as easily play with girls, and many girls aren't interested in the rough and tumble games the boys seem to like.  Boys and girls alike are competitive, quick to point out faults and differences.  There are always exceptions, and always kids (and adults) that  make and keep friends easily.

If your child isn't one of those kids. . .how can you help them? You remember 5th grade, right? For me it was fraught with girl-drama that didn't end until sometime after college.  So far, Ryan and I have had a few conversations about being a good friend, and letting other kids behave as they will.

We recently had the opportunity to review Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, the much anticipated sequel to Electric Eggplant’s break-out graphic novel app Be Confident in Who You Are. This next installment of the popular series continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group of friends in middle school—and follows them as they work to strengthen friendships while navigating tough social situations.

Ryan said he thought the App was very helpful.  He said he is going through some of the same problems as the kids in the story.  He liked the "What Would a Real Friend Do?" quiz - and was proud that he answered the questions correctly.  As a parent, I see the value in the lines of communication it opened between us.  I didn't know he was experiencing some of the issues from the story. . .now I do and I can help him navigate the tricky waters of adolescent friendships.

This 46-page digital graphic novel is based on Book 2 of the award-winning Middle School Confidential series written by nationally recognized teen expert and anti-bullying activist Annie Fox, M.Ed., and illustrated by Harvey Award winner Matt Kindt.  As with the first one, the graphics are incredibly appealing, while the characters pull you into their story.  As the mom of a soon-to-be-Middle-Schooler, I am thrilled with this series.  I love the voices of the kids in the story - they are "real kids" and completely relate-able.

The Real Friends vs. the Other Kind app is now available for download on the iTunes App Store for $2.99 USD (educational discounts available). Coming soon to the Nook Color/Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire, and other Android Tablets.

note - I received a free copy of the graphic novel to facilitate this review; however, as always, all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone, unless quoted by someone else.

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