As your daughter gets older, friendships change from playmates to confidantes. Friends become more important and influential in a tween’s life, and as Christian parents we hope our children will make meaningful friendships with people who draw them closer to Jesus. How can we encourage that process? It begins with teaching our girls to examine what makes a good friend—and evaluating her relationships based on those assets.

Kindness— Is your friend kind? Does she encourage others, use uplifting words, and empathize when you’re upset or struggling?

Honesty— Is your friend trustworthy? Can you rely on her to hold your confidence closely? Does she speak truth?

Integrity— Does your friend stand up for what she believes in? Or is she easily swayed by other people’s opinions or more popular views?

Mercy— Does your friend readily forgive you when you’ve done something wrong? Does she accept you despite your flaws or is she more likely to judge and hold grudges?

Honor— Does your friend aim to do what’s right, to follow rules and respect authority, or does she prefer to make trouble?

Loyal— Can you count on this friend to stand by you even when things get tough?

Then turn the tables and ask your daughter to evaluate herself on these same characteristics. Is she kind, honest, merciful? Are her thoughts and actions honorable? Is she a loyal friend? Explain that in order to gain good friends, she must be a good friend.

Finally, understand our kids may develop friendships with both Christian and non-Christian kids, and that’s healthy. Our tweens can be a light for Jesus in their schools, clubs and social circles. That’s why it’s so important that as parents we equip our girls with biblical knowledge and resources like those found here on Armed with the strength and wisdom of God, our daughters will be empowered to influence others rather than be influenced.