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Last updated by Tara Fagan

Written by Tara Fagan, CORE Education, February 2011

A friendship is a relationship between two children and “best friendships are special relationships in childhood” (Sebanc, Kearns, Hernandez, & Galvin, 2007, p. 81).

The concept of friends is considered to develop in early childhood and for younger children. Friendships are initially thought to develop because children are within the same proximity and have similar interest in play.

Dunn (2004) and Ladd (2005) both note that friendships evolve over time and are the first relationships that children have outside of the family. Dunn (2004) further argues that it is through friendships that children develop their independence as they begin to negotiate and regulate behaviour of both others and themselves.