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Friendships are dyadic relationships having six characteristics. They are reciprocal in that each child seeks friendship with the other. They represent preference in that the children seek time with each other rather than other available children. They are caring relationships in that the children share an affective bond similar to (but less intense than) the bond shared with their parents. Friendships are enjoyable as evidenced by the positive emotions expressed by young friends together. They are a source of mutual support apparent in the frequent pro-social behavior that young children show toward their friends. Finally, friendships persist over time, with the friendships of young children lasting several weeks or months.

Within this definition, very early interaction exchanges among 1-year-olds may not qualify as friendships: Infants and ...

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