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Wit & Wisdom: On the Road to Friendship

Friendships are the cornerstone of our lives. They've been important to us since childhood, helping us to learn and grow. Indeed, our first friendships probably began to emerge when we were just toddlers. But how did these relationships begin? How did we learn to make friends?

Social development begins from the very first moment your child enters the world. Everything you do with your baby from that day forward  -- from hugging and kissing her to speaking and playing games with her  -- helps her learn how to interact with other people. And if you watch closely, you'll see how your baby's social activity develops over time.

Remember that not all babies are on the same schedule: Don't worry if your child doesn't do one or more of the things I describe below or does them later than indicated. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with her, only that she's developing in her own unique way.

Contributing editor Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D., is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the author of five books on child development and parent-child communication.