Study Says: Childhood Friendships = Happy Adults

the effect of peer relationships on healthy adulthood

Yep, I feel reassured. I have always been a strong advocate of encouraging children and teens to form good and strong interpersonal connections, to make friends and to enjoy playing.

And, here to support my point of view are the results of an Australian study published online in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

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This Australian study conducted by Craig Olsson, an associate professor in developmental psychology at Deakin University and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, followed more than 800 individuals over a 32 year period beginning at age 3.

Olsson and his research team found that for both children and teens--a sense of social connectedness during those years was associated with greater happiness in adulthood. Academic success, on the other hand, was a weak indicator of adult well-being.

The takeaway messages from the study are:

1. If you want to raise happy adults then encourage your kids to have a connection to their peers.

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2. Provide ample time for your kids to focus not only on schoolwork, but also on social activities.

3. Perhaps having a good friend might lead to more happiness than an expensive new gift.

4. Make sure that your kids are not lonely.

5. Balance during the childhood and teen years is as important as balance during adulthood.

Your thoughts? 

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Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer Powell-Lunder are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual."  They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.


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